Baltimore County Council Passes Gender Identity Protection Ordinance

MEASURE PASSES COUNCIL ON A 5-2 VOTE

Towson, MD – February 21, 2012 –– This evening the Baltimore County Council passed legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation, in the areas of housing, employment, public accommodations, and financing. The bill was initiated by Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) Baltimore County and Gender Rights Maryland (GRMD), an organization dedicated to enacting similar statewide protections.

"This is a great day for Baltimore County” said Mark Patro, Chapter President of PFLAG Baltimore County. “Despite pressure from opposition groups, the County Council was able to look past the rhetoric of fear and do the right thing by securing these critical civil rights for all residents of Baltimore County.”

“Our success here in Baltimore County, and a few months ago in Howard County, is a testament to the forward thinking of our local elected officials. We would like to thank the entire Council for having the courage to pass this legislation and, in particular, Councilmember Tom Quirk for being a steadfast champion for passage of this bill. In the past 6 months we have collectively brought these protections to over one million more Marylanders. This should be a strong message to Annapolis that it is time to lead the rest of the state on this matter,” said Sharon Brackett, Board Chair for Gender Rights Maryland.

”Baltimore County will now join Howard, and Montgomery County and Baltimore City as the fourth jurisdiction in Maryland supporting these rights. This is a clear sign of exciting and changing times in Maryland for advocates of civil rights,” added Brackett.

The bill will now be forwarded to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz who is expected to sign it.

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PFLAG Baltimore County, http://www.PFLAGBaltimore.org

Founded in 2009, Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Baltimore County promotes the equality and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, their families and friends by providing support to cope with an adverse society, education to enlighten an ill-informed public and advocacy to end discrimination and secure equal civil rights.

Gender Rights Maryland, http://www.GenderRightsMaryland.org

The purpose of Gender Rights Maryland is to promote civil rights, education, tolerance, equality and acceptance on the basis of sex and gender identity/expression in the State of Maryland.  Gender Rights Maryland’s initial legislative goal is to see the passage of a comprehensive gender identity anti‐discrimination bill by the end of the 2012 legislative session.