January 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Md. advocates expect ‘relatively quiet’ legislative session

Maryland State House, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

FreeState Justice Executive Director Patrick Paschall told the Washington Blade on Wednesday that he expects the 2017 legislative session in Maryland will be “relatively quiet” once the General Assembly reconvenes on Jan. 11.

A law that allows transgender and intersex Marylanders to change the gender on their birth certificates without surgery took effect in 2015 without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature.

Maryland’s trans rights law, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act that former Gov. Martin O’Malley signed, came into force in 2014. Gays and lesbians have been able to legally marry in the state since 2013.

Paschall told the Blade that FreeState Justice would “support” bills that seek to repeal of Maryland’s sodomy law and end the criminalization of HIV in the state.

“These are outdated policies,” he said.

Gender Rights Maryland Executive Director Dana Beyer agreed with Paschall’s assessment of the upcoming legislative session.

She told the Blade on Wednesday that advocates and lawmakers remain “stunned” by President-elect Trump’s election.

“I don’t think people know what to do,” said Beyer.

Hogan is among the Republicans who did not endorse Trump during the campaign. The governor nevertheless plans to attend the president-elect’s inauguration.

“We at FreeState Justice and the LGBTQ community in Maryland are very concerned about what the president-elect may do,” Paschall told the Blade.

Paschall said his organization plans to work with state lawmakers and agencies to “shore up our laws as much as we can.”

“We’re going to take a moment to breathe and see what happens in the next couple of months,” he told the Blade.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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