Maryland's (Re) Commitment Problem

BY Advocate Contributors

May 17 2011 4:00 AM ET

 Broken promises also played into the setback of the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, which passed the house by a wide margin only to be yanked by leadership in the senate, where advocates believed they had secured enough votes. At least six Democratic supporters voted to send the transgender rights bill back to committee.

“Both of these bills ended their lives on motions to recommit this year,” said transgender advocate Dana Beyer. “But there is a huge difference because the marriage equality proponents asked that the bill be recommitted because they didn’t have the votes. But the gender identity bill proponents wanted the floor vote,” and they weren’t given the chance by the senate leadership.

As they rebuild, advocates take some comfort in progress. The bills had never cleared a committee before this year, let alone been passed by at least one chamber with bipartisan support.

“The fact is, we got really, really far,” said Beyer. “We did not lose this on a vote. We ran out the clock.”

It’s too early to predict when the bills would see debate and votes again, especially after a legislative session where lack of guarantees seemed to be the biggest lesson of all.

“We have lot of analysis to do,” said Meneses-Sheets. “We will be doing a lot of strategic planning. We’re going to have a lot of conversations as the analysis and planning process is going on.”









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