Group Seeks Referendum On Transgender Rights Law
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Critics of Maryland's newly passed transgender rights bill kick off a new effort to get the law overturned.
Monique Griego reports several delegates announced a petition drive against the so-called "bathroom bill."
The group is hoping to get enough signatures to bring the law before voters in November.
But supporters of the bill say this is just another attempt to mislead the public about what the law really allows.
The fight over transgender rights in Maryland reignites in Annapolis.
"This has just gone too far. It's too extreme," said Del. Kathy Szeliga, (R) Maryland.
Tuesday, critics announced a petition drive to have the law overturned. MdPetitions.com is hoping to gain enough signatures to put the bill on the November ballot.
"It's even kind of unbelievable that it did pass," said Del. Neil Parrott, (R) Maryland.
The bill, which passed in March, updates Maryland's anti-discrimination law to include gender identity, protecting transgendered people from discrimination at work, housing or in public places.
But many delegates, including Parrot, didn't want public restrooms included.
"That's the most harmful part of this bill. For parents, they want to send their little girls into the bathroom and there could be a man in there hiding. It allows for that to happen," Parrot said.
That's something supporters of the bill say simply isn't true.
"There's always a concern when someone launches an effort like this to mislead the public in such an intense way," said Keith Thirion, Equality Maryland.
Thirion says this latest push is just another attempt to confuse people about who the bill protects.
"A man who puts on a dress to commit illegal acts is not covered by the bill and illegal acts remain illegal," he said.
Thirion is hopeful Marylanders will see it's about fairness.
"No one should be denied the opportunity to work for a living and provide for their families, to have a roof over their head or to eat lunch at a restaurant, be denied those basic rights just because of who they are," Thirion said.
Mdpetitions.com has two deadlines to meet: one in May and one in June.
Overall they need just under 56,000 signatures to bring the bill to a vote in November.
In 2012, the group successfully forced the Marriage Equality Act and Dream Act on the ballot, but voters upheld both.
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