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Gender Identity Bill Advances in Maryland House

Gender Identity Bill Advances in Maryland House

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The Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Bill passed a second reading in the Maryland house of delegates Friday afternoon with a third and final reading scheduled for Saturday.

Metro Weeklyreports that the bill, which would add gender identity protections to state antidiscrimination law on employment, housing and credit, passed a second reading and was ordered to be printed in anticipation of a final vote Saturday. Advocates are pushing for a vote in the house before the Monday deadline to move the bill to the senate. The legislature adjourns April 11.

Earlier in the day, by a 15 to 8 vote, the house health and government operations committee approved the bill, introduced by delegates Joseline Pena-Melnyk and Ariana Kelly. The historic vote represented the first time a transgender rights measure in Maryland was approved by a committee for further consideration in the legislature.

"All hardworking people in our state, including transgender people, should have a chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families," said Equality Maryland executive director Morgan Meneses-Sheets in a statement after the committee vote. "Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance."

According to Equality Maryland, the committee approved the bill with minor amendments and modified the definition of gender identity to include protection for gender identity and the way in which a person expresses gender in presentation.

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