» Equality Maryland Celebrates: Opponents Fall Short of Signatures
Equality Maryland Celebrates: Opponents Fall Short of Signatures

Opponents of The Fairness for All Marylanders Act failed to collect enough signatures to try to overturn this law. The Maryland Constitution allows for most newly passed laws to be petitioned to referendum. Opponents had until midnight tonight to hand in 18,579 valid signatures.

The Fairness for All Marylanders Act updates Maryland’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender people. This ensures that everyone is free to work for a living, secure housing, and get served lunch at a restaurant regardless of gender identity. It was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor O’Malley earlier this year.

Equality Maryland’s Executive Director Carrie Evans comments, “We finally get to really celebrate this momentous achievement! Thank you to all of the amazing volunteers who worked diligently over the last six weeks to educate voters on this law. We had supporters across the state standing right next to petition gatherers and we saw first-hand voters change their minds and not sign the mean-spirited petition. While some criticized our approach, we felt an obligation to the thousands of transgender Marylanders and the people who love and support them to do everything in our power to defend it, not just be quiet and wait to see what happens.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has worked alongside Equality Maryland for several years trying to pass this important law. “We are pleased to know that transgender Marylanders will now be treated fairly and equally.  The Human Rights Campaign was proud to work alongside State Senator Rich Madaleno, Delegate Luke Clippinger, Equality Maryland, and other leaders to see this bill pass and be enacted into law,” says Marty Rouse the National Field Director for HRC.

Senator Rich Madaleno, the law’s Senate sponsor, said he was “finally able to exhale.” “While it was gratifying to see this law pass the General Assembly and to watch the Governor sign it, we all knew that it was not a done deal until we saw whether opponents could muster up signatures. I am grateful for the work that Equality Maryland and others did to help stop people from signing the petition.  The time for attacking principles of basic fairness for Marylanders has passed.”

Delegate Luke Clippinger, the law’s House sponsor, also noted tremendous relief. “We worked hard during the legislative session to secure the necessary votes to pass this law and I am happy that enough Maryland voters did not deem it necessary to sign a petition trying to take away protections for transgender Marylanders.”

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