The Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, House Bill 235, went through its second reading this afternoon on the Maryland House of Delegates Floor and was ordered to be "printed" for its third and final reading. According to the clerk's office of the Maryland House of Delegates, the third reading is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 26, in order to get the bill to the Senate floor by Monday, March 28.
The bill passed through the Maryland House's Health and Government Operations Committee with a 15-8 favorable vote this morning. The legislation seeks to prohibit discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, licensing and commercial leasing against transgender Marylanders.
There were no amendments made to the bill during second reading. Amendments were made to the language of the bill in committee. One that took away "expression" and "behavior" from language in the bill, but kept "appearance" and identity. Regardless of the removal, Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, says the bill will still protect expression and behavior because of the way it is written. According to Meneses-Sheets amendments may not be introduced during the bill's third reading.
Speaking to Metro Weekly following passage of the bill's second reading, Meneses-Sheets said she is "thrilled."
“We still have a lot of work to do on this bill in a short period of time, but in one day we got through committee and second reading for the first time,” she says. “This critical bill has died in committee year after year, and this is an exciting moment and now we get back to work.”
For updates to this story, continue to visit metroweekly.com.