On Tuesday, PFLAG National's Field and Policy Manager Jamie Curtis testified in Baltimore County on behalf of Bill 3-12, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, schools, housing, public accommodations, and financing. PFLAG National Field and Policy manager Jamie Curtis reports:
PFLAG joined 44 people who spoke on behalf of this vital legislation, including seven local PFLAG members. Only 16 people testified against the bill. Those testifying on behalf of the legislation shared moving personal stories about how discrimination has affected their lives and their families, while opponents shared misinformation about “safety concerns,” and “frivolous lawsuits” that small businesses would have to endure. Opponents failed to substantiate these concerns with peer reviewed research findings and facts.
Anecdotal and empirical evidence reminds us that our LGBT loved ones face disproportionate rates of discrimination and lack adequate remedies in federal and state law, and, for those in Baltimore County, local law. In fact, looking at employment discrimination alone, in 29 states it is perfectly legal to fire someone simply because of their sexual orientation, and in 34 states it is legal to fire someone simply because of their gender identity. Unfortunately, Maryland is one of those 34 states that fail to protect our transgender and gender non-conforming loved ones.
Fortunately, Bill 3-12 would expand existing human rights protections, ultimately prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. More specifically, this legislation would provide clear protections for LGBT individuals in housing, employment, education, public accommodations, and financing. We hope that when the County Council votes next week they will vote in favor of bill 3-12 and end discrimination in Baltimore County.
Take Action. If you live in or around Baltimore County, please be sure to contact the County Council at 410-887-3196 to be connected to your Council Member—urge them to pass Bill 3-12 without amendment or delay!