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Wording Delays Md. Bill Banning Discrimination Against Transgendered

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For the third day in a row, the Maryland Senate is expected to take up a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender people — but the bill is facing obstacles.

Delays in moving the bill forward have been caused by wording that has cause senators to put off a vote each time by a day. It's the definition of gender identity in the bill that is causing all the fuss.

An amendment offered yesterday would strip some language, offering protections to those with "a persistent, bona fide gender related identity regardless of the individual's assigned sex at birth" and striking a part that says a person must show "the consistent, public manifestation of that identity in the gender related appearance."

Republican Nancy Jacobs of Harford County asked for the delay yesterday, saying while she voted against the bill in committee, she was at least comfortable with the longer gender identity definition.

"It's more palatable with the amendment that we put on it if that stays. And now they're going to strip it... I don't think that's a good thing and I want to look at it," she said.

The bill's sponsor, Democrat Richard Madaleno of Montgomery County, says Jacobs' claim that the change fundamentally alters the bill is "preposterous."

"I think this amendment just clarifies what we've always been talking about. That the bill would cover those who have transitioned, and people who are transitioning. And I think it is those people who I think are at the greatest risk and in need of these protections the most," he said.

Senate President Mike Miller has said he wants his colleagues to vote on the bill today.

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