March 25, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
Maryland House committee approves transgender rights bill
Luke Clippinger, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, Baltimore, gay news, Washington Blade

Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Maryland House of Delegates Health and Government Operations Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders.

House Bill 1265 – the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 – passed by a 13-9 vote margin.

State Dels. Peter Hammen (D-Baltimore City), Shane Pendergrass (D-Howard County), Eric Bromwell (D-Baltimore County), Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery County), James Hubbard (D-Prince George’s County), Ariana Kelly (D-Montgomery County), Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), Peter Murphy (D-Charles County), Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (D-Baltimore County), Nathaniel Oaks (D-Baltimore City), Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D-Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties), Kirill Reznik (D-Montgomery County), Shawn Tarrant (D-Baltimore City) and Veronica Turner (D-Prince George’s County) voted for the measure. State Dels. Robert Costa (R-Anne Arundel County), John Donoghue (D-Washington County), Donald Elliott (R-Carroll and Frederick Counties), A. Wade Kach (R-Baltimore County), Nicholaus Kipke (R-Anne Arundel County), Susan Krebs (R-Carroll County), Patrick McDonough (R-Baltimore and Harford Counties) and Justin Ready (R-Carroll County) opposed HB 1265.

State Del. William Frank (R-Baltimore County) did not vote.

Lawmakers approved the measure that state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) introduced nearly three weeks after holding a hearing on it.

“All Marylanders deserve to be treated and protected equally under the law,” said Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown as he testified in support of the measure on March 5.

The Maryland Senate earlier this month approved a similar bill that state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) introduced.

Attorney General Doug Gansler and state Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) – who are challenging Brown in this June’s Democratic gubernatorial primary – Gov. Martin O’Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Anne Arundel County) are among those who support HB 1265. State Del. Kathy Afzali (R-Frederick County) said in a recent letter to her constituents the measure would “normalize abnormal behavior.”

A final vote on HB 1265 is expected to take place in the House later this week.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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