The Howard County chapter of PFLAG and Gender Rights Maryland (GRMD) will celebrate passage of the Fairness for All Marylanders Act (FAMA). The legislation, SB212, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations based on gender identity, was passed during the 2014 Maryland General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley. Opponents failed to garner the requisite number of signatures to place the measure on the November ballot. The effective date of the law is Oct. 1.
The “potluck” celebration will take place on Oct. 14 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way in Columbia.
“We are very pleased to be able to celebrate the passage of the Fairness for all Marylanders Act,” Heath Goisovich, event coordinator and advocacy committee co-chair, told the Blade. “We have been working on this for a long time and are pleased to know that all transgender Marylanders will be treated equally under the law.”
Led by Sharon Brackett, GRMD board chair, and Catherine Hyde and Heath Goisovich of PFLAG, both organizations were instrumental in getting similar laws passed in Howard and Baltimore counties in 2011 and 2012, respectively as statewide attempts were unsuccessful. PFLAG and GRMD played key roles in the passage of FAMA working behind the scenes with legislative leaders.
“We are excited to celebrate with our PFLAG allies on the occasion of the gender identity protections taking effect in Maryland,” said Brackett. “Without their support in Annapolis and Howard and Baltimore Counties this would never have been a reality.”