Equality Maryland announced June 10 that it has raised $50,000 to support Basic Rights Montgomery, a coalition formed to preserve the county's transgender anti-discrimination law.
The law resulted from the Montgomery County Council's unanimous passage in November of a bill that added ''gender identity'' as a protected category to the county's anti-discrimination laws. A group of residents, Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG), collected more than the 25,001 required signatures to block the law from going into effect.
Basic Rights Montgomery is challenging the validity of the petitions, claiming that CRG used a ''smear campaign'' and ''scare tactics'' to secure signatures. For example, on its Web site, www.notmyshower.net, CRG states: ''No longer will women and girls be able to feel completely safe in the most private and personal bathroom and locker facilities of schools, public pools, malls, stores, health clubs, restaurants and other such public places throughout the county.''
Equality Maryland raised $30,000 of the funds collected for BRM, at its recent Night Out for Equality Gala and also received a $20,000 donation from the Human Rights Campaign. Basic Rights Montgomery includes Equality Maryland, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and residents of Montgomery County.