“We’ve taken one step closer to ensuring that all Marylanders are protected from discrimination under the law,” Gov. Martin O’Malley told the Washington Blade in a statement.
LGBT rights advocates also welcomed the law going into effect.
“This law is critical in the lives of transgender Marylanders,” said Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, in a statement on Tuesday. “For too long it has been okay to fire transgender people, kick them out of their apartments and deny them services at a restaurant; tomorrow this will be rectified.”
“I am very pleased, both for the community at-large as well as my team at Gender Rights Maryland,” Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, told the Blade.
O’Malley in May signed the law — Senate Bill 212 or the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 that gay state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) introduced earlier this year.
“It’s an important step forward,” Madaleno told the Blade.
Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler are among the statewide officials who support the law.
“We’re taking a critical step forward in protecting all Marylanders from discrimination,” said Brown in a statement after O’Malley signed SB 212.
Larry Hogan, a former member of former Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s administration who will face Brown in next month’s gubernatorial election, opposes the law.
Opponents of the statute failed to collect enough signatures to force a November referendum on it.
Maryland is now among 17 other states, D.C. and Puerto Rico with gender identity and expression in their anti-discrimination laws.
“Now the trans community can make use of this law, in addition to the county and Title VII protections, to make equality of opportunity a reality,” said Beyer.