Maryland Passes Transgender Rights Bill, Governor To Sign Into Law

    The bill will prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations. Gov. Martin O'Malley, a supporter of the bill, says he "look[s] forward" to signing it into law.

    The Maryland House of Delegates gave final approval to a bill Thursday that would outlaw discrimination against transgender people in the areas of employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations.

    Lawmakers in the chamber voted 82-57 to send the bill, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014, to the desk of Gov. Martin O'Malley, who plans to sign it into law, according to his spokeswoman Nina Smith.

    "I'd like to congratulate and thank Senator Rich Madaleno, Delegate Luke Clippinger, Equality Maryland and the Human Rights Campaign on yet another victory for inclusion and openness in our State." O'Malley said. "We're proud to stand with these leaders, the LGBT community, and other allies to complete this major piece of unfinished business — ensuring that everyone is protected from discrimination under the law. I look forward to signing this bill."

    With his signature, O'Malley will make his state the 18th plus the District of Columbia to enact such protections. The state Senate passed the bill earlier this month.

    Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, applauded lawmakers, advocates, and allies after the passage of the bill and pointed to federal non-discrimination legislation stalled before Congress.

    "With each new state joining the side of fairness and equality, we move closer to explicitly banning job discrimination against transgender people nationwide," she said. "After years of advocacy and organizing in Annapolis, Maryland's choice to stand behind transgender people is a reminder to our elected officials on Capitol Hill that it's overdue for them to take action on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act."