April 12, 2012 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Referendum fails for Baltimore Co. trans law

Advocates call for acceptance of trans people. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

In a little-noticed development, opponents of a transgender non-discrimination law approved earlier this year by the Baltimore County Council attempted to kill the law by circulating petitions to gather signatures needed to place it on the ballot in a referendum.

Organizers announced on Tuesday that they failed to obtain signatures from the required three percent of voters in the county needed to place the law on the ballot. The law bans discrimination against transgender people in the county in the area of employment, housing and public accommodations.

With the referendum process stopped, the law took effect Monday, April 9. Baltimore County becomes the fourth jurisdiction in Maryland to put in place a non-discrimination law protecting the transgender community. Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Howard County have similar laws on the books.

Dana Beyer, executive director of the statewide transgender advocacy group Gender Rights Maryland, said the group is considering pushing for a trans non-discrimination measure in Prince George’s County next year.

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

1 Comment
  • The referendum threshold in Baltimore County is 10% of voters in the last gubernatorial election. The initial petition to be submitted within 45 days must have at least 1/3 of those signatures. In this case they needed nearly 10,000 valid signatures to proceed to the next stage and nearly 30,000 total to put the matter on the ballot.

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