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Gov. Jack Markell (D) Wednesday evening signed into law a transgender rights bill that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, insurance and public accommodations and includes gender identity as a protected class under Delaware’s hate-crimes law.
Shorlty before signing, the bill passed the Senate 11-9 after being amended to clarify the meaning of gender identity. It passed the House 24-17 a day earlier. With Markell’s signature, the First State joins 16 others and the District of Columbia in extending employment and housing protections to transgender people.
“Our mission to build a welcoming and accepting state that can compete in the global economy requires laws that reflect our values,” Markell said in a statement released just prior to signing the bill into law. “Today, we guarantee that our transgendr relatives and neighbors can work hard, participate in our communities, and live their lives with dignity and safety.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, released a statement praising the bill’s passage and signing into law.
“The Delaware Legislature sent a clear message today that transgender residents deserve to be treated equally and protected under the law,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “Delaware advocates and lawmakers are standing up and ensuring that the First State is one which welcomes all people, and provides the same protections and opportunities.”
[Photo: Gov. Jack Markell (courtesy of the Office of the Governor).]