February 20, 2014 at 7:30 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
College Park considers trans, LGBT contractor bias bills
Dave Kolesar, Patrick Wojahn, gay news, Washington Blade, marriage equality, Maryland, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, gay news, Washington Blade

College Park City Council member Patrick Wojahn (on right) with his partner, Dave Kolesar. Wojahn said a majority of the eight-member Council expressed support for the pro-LGBT bills. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The College Park, Md., City Council has directed its city attorney to draft three separate bills that would ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression and require that contractors doing business with the city adopt policies of non-discrimination for their LGBT employees and provide equal benefits for employees’ same-sex spouses.

According to College Park City Council member Patrick Wojahn, who’s gay, the Council informally discussed the idea of drafting the three bills at a Feb. 4 work session. Wojahn said a clear majority of the eight-member Council expressed support for the bills. He said the Council then asked the College Park city attorney to draft the bills.

Wojahn said the Council expects the attorney to complete the drafting process within a month or two.

Both the State of Maryland and Prince George’s County, in which College Park is located, have existing laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodation. But neither the state nor P.G. County has laws banning discrimination against transgender people. Nearby Montgomery County and three other counties in Maryland, including Baltimore, have transgender non-discrimination laws on the books.

Fellow Council member P.J. Brennan, who’s also gay, is among the Council members pushing for the three new laws, Wojahn said.

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

  • why separate bills? sounds like an omnibus bill is needed. will they be providing equal benefits for trans employees as well in their health care? They should really take a look at what Philadelphia did last year.

  • Glad they are putting something together! I was a contractor, and as soon as I came out, the very next week they called my agency and told them "I was not needed anymore after a 6 year gig with excellent reviews! I had no recourse.

  • Why is it neccessary to note the councilmembers’ sexual orientation? If the reporter interviewed one of the straight members of the council about the bills would their sexuality been included in the article?

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