March 25, 2011 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Md. trans bill clears ‘reading’

Maryland’s Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act cleared yet another hurdle late Friday when the full House of Delegates of the state legislature cleared it for a final “third reading” vote expected on Saturday.

In a process known as “second reading,” members of the House of Delegates discussed the bill on the floor about 5 p.m. Friday. The discussion followed a presentation by Del. Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), chair of the subcommittee that approved the bill earlier in the week, about the bill’s purpose and provisions, according to Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of the state LGBT group Equality Maryland.

Meneses-Sheets, who was present in the visitor’s gallery during the discussion, said questions were asked about the technical amendments approved by the Committee on Health and Government Operations early Friday. Supporters, including LGBT activists, say the amendments won’t change the substance of the bill’s provisions.

Meneses-Sheets said no one proposed additional amendments to the bill during the second reading floor discussion, prompting House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch (D-Anne Arundel County) to clear the bill for a final floor vote expected on Saturday. Under House rules, no additional amendments can be considered during the debate on the bill in final reading.

The bill calls for prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in the area of employment, housing and credit.

If approved by the House on Saturday, the measure will be sent to the State Senate, which must approve it in committee before taking it up for a vote on the Senate floor.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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