March 10, 2009
Maryland General Assembly Set to Vote on Risky "Gender Identity" Bill
Maryland Retailers Association Amendment Confirms
Opening Women's Restrooms/Showers to Cross-Dressers
Contact: Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government
(Michelle Turner, 301-335-6042, firstname.lastname@example.org)
March 10, 2009 -- Women and children will face one of the greatest threats to privacy, safety and security that Maryland residents have ever known with the passage of a "Gender Identity" bill now before Maryland House and Senate legislators.
The proposed law adds a broadly defined category of "gender identity" to the state's existing anti-discrimination law. Because the bill's broad definition of "gender identity" includes "_expression and behavior," men are not required to have undergone a sex change operation. The Maryland Retailers Association has purportedly agreed to allow men to enter women's bathrooms.
"The effect of this bill is to give special rights to men who want to dress like women, but completely disregards the safety of vulnerable women and children," notes Ruth Jacobs, M.D., president of Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government. "Restrooms and showers will be opened up to cross-dressing or female affirming men, thereby allowing undressing in front of women and children in a woman's locker room."
"We believe that the bill should be dropped," says Dr. Jacobs. "Even the senator sponsoring the bill admits that he does not understand gender identity issues."
"If it is not dropped, then exemptions similar to the Baltimore City law stating 'It is not discrimination for any person to provide separate toilet facilities for males and females' and other exemptions as signed by [then mayor and now] Governor Martin O'Malley should be included."
Gender Identity Bill HB474/SB566 imposes fines for public accommodations and allows imprisonment and fines for housing violations. The bill includes a "private cause of action" giving any cross dressing employee the right to sue employers in state court. Awards can include back pay and up to $400,000 in damages not including punitive damages.
To stop passage of HB474/SB566, call, write or email your legislators and urge them to vote "NO" to this dangerous piece of legislation. Visit Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government website at www.notmyshower.com for the contact information for Maryland legislators. Contact the Maryland Retailers Association at 410-269-1440 and ask them to withdraw any show of support for HB474/SB566.
Vote NO on Gender Identity Bill - HB 474 and SB 566