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Gender identity discrimination bill fails to make it out of committee

March 15th, 2013  |  Deborah Hammonds

Maryland legislation that would have protected individuals from discrimination based on gender identity failed to get out of committee yesterday, according to news reports. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee’s vote of 5-6 prevented the Fairness for All Marylanders Act (S.B. 449) from moving to the state senate floor.

The legislation, which covered all employers, employment agencies, and unions, would have amended state antidiscrimination laws to include protections based on gender identity, defined as the “appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”

Employers would have been immune from liability under the amended provision or under the common law for reasonable acts taken by the employer to verify the sexual orientation or gender identity of any employee or applicant in response to a charge filed against the employer on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The measure would have made Maryland the 17th state to protect individuals from discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations if the legislation had passed.