Maryland Hub




Efforts to Repeal Maryland Transgender Rights Bill Fail

An effort to repeal Maryland's transgender rights bill has failed to collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, All Voices reports:

ParrottState Del. Neil Parrott (R-Hagerstown) began a petition drive in an attempt to block the Fairness for All Marylanders Act from taking effect. Parrott needed to collect a total of 55,737 signatures by June 30 in order for the measure to appear on the ballot in November. Opponents needed at least 18,579 signatures by May 31 for their campaign to continue.

Instead of using the formal name for the bill, Parrott chose to play to the fears of transphobic people by calling it “the Bathroom Bill.”

“As a parent, you should be able to send your children, your little girl, into the women’s bathroom and have the expectation that there will only be women or girls in that bathroom,” Parrott said April 29 when he announced his plans to launch the petition. “It opens the door for predators to take advantage of this bill. Predators will be able to go into the opposite gender bathroom, and proprietors would not be able to deny them access to that bathroom.”

Equality Maryland spread the good news last night:


Friday Speed Read: Idaho, Maryland, Marriage Anniversary, Houston, Michael Sam

DaleNINTH CIRCUIT STAYS IDAHO:

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday issued a temporary stay preventing Chief Magistrate Judge Candy Dale’s order striking Idaho’s ban on same-sex couples marrying from taking effect today. The stay will remain in place until the panel decides whether the state has state has met the requirements for a permanent stay while Judge Dale’s decision is on appeal to the Ninth. The state’s opening brief on appeal is due August 22. The National Center for Lesbian Rights then has until September 22 to file a response. The panel includes Reagan appointee Edward Leavy, George W. Bush appointee Consuelo Callahan, and Obama appointee Andrew Hurwitz.

OmalleyMARYLAND TRANS BILL SIGNED INTO LAW:

Democratic Governor and potential presidential candidate Martin O’Malley signed a bill Thursday that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other areas. A press release from the governor’s office quoted Lt. Governor Anthony Brown as saying the bill is a “critical step forward in protecting all Marylanders from discrimination.” The law will go into effect October 1. Maryland will become the 17th and the District of Columbia to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF MARRIAGE:

Saturday, May 17, marks the tenth anniversary of same-sex couples being able to legally marry in the United States. It was 2004 when Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses, in response to a November 2003 decision of the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. It was another four years before the second state –Connecticut—did so, in response to a state supreme court decision, followed a year later by Iowa, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. New Hampshire was the fifth state, in 2010, and New York the sixth, in 2011. Then, in 2012, voters in Maryland, Maine, and Washington state approved marriage equality measures. Eight more states joined the list in 2013 –five of them through action by the state legislatures—and a federal court ruling in Utah striking that state’s ban down is on appeal. So far in 2014, 11 states (all but one through federal court ruling) have had their bans struck and are on appeal.

ParkerBATHROOM COMPROMISE IN HOUSTON:

The Houston City Council postponed its scheduled vote on Mayor Annise Parker’s proposed equal rights ordinance Wednesday. According to local television news reports, Parker told reporters she had the votes to pass a version of the bill that removed language ensuring that transgender people could use public restrooms based on their gender identity, but she wanted to give the public more time to understand the legislation and comment. Some church groups say they are still opposed to the bill. A vote is expected May 28.

OFT QUOTED LINE OF HISTORY:

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the LGBT legal group that won the historic state supreme court decision in Massachusetts which led the state to become the first to allow same-sex couples to marry, highlights this line from that famous decision, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health: “The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens.”

WELCOMING MICHAEL SAM:

Wade Davis, head of a group for LGBT athletes, told Associated Press he was invited by St. Louis Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher to help the team prepare to welcome the NFL’s first openly gay football player, Michael Sam.


First Same-Sex Wedding Held At US Naval Academy

140510-annapolis-wedding-1913_a4a372d7750b5fa0a6825ca2612ab286.nbcnews-ux-880-600
The very first gay wedding at the US Naval Academy took place yesterday afternoon in the school's famed chapel. The couple, David Bucher and Bruce Moats, were wed in front of 100 guests, including their own two children. Bucher graduated from the Maryland Academy over 20 years ago.

According to NBC News, even though the Academy did not oppose the ceremony, the two still faced some challenges. 

But Academy Chaplain Lt. John Connolly, who officiated the ceremony, said the run-up to the memorable day wasn’t all smooth sailing.

“Not everyone agrees that this should be happening and it took a significant amount of discernment on my own part as well as this couple’s as they were preparing for the day,” Connolly said.

But as he got to know Bucher and Moats, he understood how in love they were. “The more I met with this couple, the happier I was to be presiding today,” he added.

Said Moats about their decision to marry at the Academy: "The question was; should we do it, are we advocating, are we here to make a political message? We're not. We're here to break political barriers for sure, but it's also about taking advantage of the rights that we have."

Watch video of the ceremony and interviews with the happy new couple, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "First Same-Sex Wedding Held At US Naval Academy" »


Thursday Speed Read: Clay Aiken, Closeted on the Job, Heather Mizeur, Maryland, HIV Criminalization

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

AikenAIKEN VICTORY STILL PENDING:

North Carolina election officials will review the outcome of the Congressional District 2 Democratic primary race on May 15, after they’ve had a chance to tally in absentee and challenged ballots. As of Wednesday afternoon, openly gay candidate Clay Aiken, of American Idol fame, held just over 40 percent of the vote with a 369-vote lead over businessman Keith Crisco.

53 PERCENT CLOSETED ON THE JOB:

A report released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign’s educational arm says that 53 percent of LGBT people keep their sexual orientation secret at their places of employment. According to the report, only 17 states and Washington, D.C., have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Another four states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation only. The report, “The Cost of the Closet and the Rewards of Inclusion,” surveyed 800 LGBT workers and an unspecified number of non-LGBT workers.

MizeurMIZEUR HANDLES FIRST DEBATE:

Openly lesbian Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur stayed above the fray and focused like a laser on the need to increase the minimum wage and the virtues of legalizing marijuana. Mizeur, a delegate in the state House, was participating Wednesday night in the first debate in the three-way race for the Democratic nomination June 24. Mizeur ranks behind both Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler in polls. But a transcript of the debate published by the Washington Post, indicates Mizeur managed a solid performance.

MarijuanaMARIJUANA FOR CHILDREN?

At one point during Wednesday night’s debate, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur was questioned about her support for legalizing marijuana. She noted, among other things, that legalization could provide tax revenue to pay for a universal pre-Kindergarten. Mizeur then added that it would send “an important message about the fact that this is a substance that is arguably less harmful to the body than alcohol and tobacco.” That awkward juxtaposition of pre-Kindergarten and marijuana being “arguably less harmful” apparently prompted this question from moderator David Gregory of Meet the Press: “Are you comfortable saying to the children of this state, ‘marijuana’s okay’?” “We’re not saying that to the children of this state,” replied Mizeur, noting that, in fact, her plan calls for spending $4 million a year to make sure children know marijuana is a “a very dangerous substance for a developing mind.”

HolderREPORT URGES DOJ ACTION:

A report Wednesday from a coalition of groups working on fair treatment of people by the criminal justice system recommends the U.S. Department of Justice amend its guidelines to stop profiling of LGBT people and people with HIV by federal law enforcement agents. The “Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People with HIV,” was developed by former NGLTF Executive Director Urvashi Vaid and former AIDS Project Director at Lambda Legal Catherine Hanssens and others. DOJ announced in January it would revise its rules for federal agents to prohibit the use of sexual orientation and other characteristics to prompt investigations. In April, Attorney General Eric Holder said the department would begin to collect data on people stopped or arrested to “reduce” the possible effects of bias. But he did not make specific mention of LGBT bias. In a preface to the coalition report, former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous notes that New York City police have used “stop and frisk” practices against LGBT people. Another of the Roadmap’s authors, Andrea Ritchie, co-coordinator of the LGBT group Streetwise and Safe, said the coalition members have spoken with DOJ about some of their recommendations and look forward to conversations in the future.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


MSNBC's Ronan Farrow Blasts GOP-Led Effort To Repeal Maryland's Transgender Rights Law: VIDEO

Farrow_wymore

On May 2, MSNBC's Ronan Farrow and transgender activist Mel Wymore discussed the Republican-led effort to repeal Maryland's newly-passed transgender protections.

Media Matters notes:

The fact that a major cable news outlet took the time to cover the fight over a state's transgender protections is remarkable. Aside from the transphobic panic attacks that occasionally flare up on Fox News, stories about the transgender community's fight for equal treatment don't typically get much national media coverage.

During the segment, Farrow and Wymore also discussed the U.S. Department of Education’s recent application of Title IX protections to trans students, India’s creation of a third gender option for trans and non-gender conforming people and Katie Couric’s invasive interview questions about trans actress Laverne Cox’s genitals.

As for the bill itself, on March 27th, the Maryland legislature passed a bill outlawing gender identity discrimination in education, housing, and public accommodations, and it now awaits Governor Martin O’Malley’s signature to become a law.

The law is supposed to go into effect October 1st, but if a new website belonging to Republican State Delegate Neil Parrot (X) successfully collects 55,736 signatures by June 30, he could get a proposed repeal of the law on the state’s November ballot.

Parrot has called the trans-protection bill “a bathroom bill,” employing the oft-used trans-phobic canard of men in women’s dresses sexually assaulting women and girls in public toilets.

Of such scare tactics, Media Matters further notes:

the claim that non-discrimination laws will be exploited by sexual predators is demonstrably false. In state after state with non-discrimination laws already on the books, experts have found no evidence whatsoever that protections for transgender people lead to increased incidences of sexual assault in bathrooms. In reality, transgender people are disproportionately victims of violence and harassment in public restrooms.

See MSNBC’s segment AFTER THE JUMP

Gender_stuff

Continue reading "MSNBC's Ronan Farrow Blasts GOP-Led Effort To Repeal Maryland's Transgender Rights Law: VIDEO" »


Thursday Speed Read: Title IX, Rea Carey, Asylum Seeking, Ohio, Colorado, Maryland

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PROTECTION FOR NON-CONFORMING:

EducationThe U.S. Department of Education (ED) on Tuesday released guidelines to clarify for schools receiving federal aid that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination “extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.” The DOE’s guidance makes clear that its Office of Civil Rights “accepts such complaints for investigation.” The guidance requires school officials to “investigate and resolve allegations of sexual violence regarding LGBT students using the same procedures and standards that it uses in all complaints involving sexual violence.” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey called it a “giant leap forward” toward “staggering rates of discrimination” against students who are transgender or non-conforming to gender role expectations.

NGLTF LEADER ARRESTED AT RALLY: Carey

NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey was one of 27 people arrested for blocking an intersection on Capitol Hill Wednesday in a protest against the refusal of the Republican-led U.S. House to take up an immigration reform bill. The Fair Immigration Reform Movement organized the protest. NGLTF estimates that more than 250,000 of the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants are LGBT.

FOCUS ON ASYLUM:

Immigration Equality held a press conference in front of the White House Tuesday afternoon to urge President Obama to provide relief to LGBT people seeking asylum in the United States. The group says it has more than 300 clients in need of asylum. According to the organization’s website, persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status can be a basis for the Bureau of Immigration Appeals to grant asylum.

OhioNEW OHIO LAWSUIT:

Ohio civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein has filed another lawsuit in federal court in Cincinnati seeking to strike down that state’s ban against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The lawsuit filed Wednesday, Gibson v. Himes, is being brought on behalf of six same-sex couples. Earlier this month, another Gerhardstein lawsuit won a ruling from a federal district court judge in Cincinnati to recognize the out-of-state marriages of four same-sex couples and put the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their children. That case is now on appeal to the Sixth Circuit.

ColoradoCOLORADO POLLS RISING?

A poll by Quinnipiac University of 1,298 registered voters this month found a whopping 61 percent support allowing same-sex couples to marry. Last December, Public Policy Polling surveyed 928 Colorado voters and found only 48 percent said they would support allowing same-sex couples to marry. The December poll, however, gave voters a choice of allowing gays to marry or have civil unions. Thirty-two percent were OK with civil unions. In terms of voters opposed, 18 percent said that in December there should be “no” legal recognition of same-sex relationships, 32 percent said they “oppose” allowing them to marry.

MarylandMARYLAND BALLOT BATTLE BREWING:

A Republican-led group announced Tuesday that it will seek a referendum this November on a bill passed by the Maryland legislature to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The governor has not yet signed the bill, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, but is expected to. The group, MDPetitions.com, is referring to the measure as “The Bathroom Bill,” a moniker frequently used by opponents of gender equality to stir fears that the non-discrimination law will enable men to enter women’s restrooms to harass or attack them.” The group must first collect 55,736 signatures by June 30, including one-third of those by May 31.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged