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Maryland Senate Candidate Celebrates New Transgender-Rights Law

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Maryland Senate candidate Dana Beyer and State Sen. Richard Madaleno say opponents to Maryland's transgender-rights law don't have a reasonable argument against it.
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Maryland Senate candidate Dana Beyer and State Sen. Richard Madaleno say opponents to Maryland's transgender-rights law don't have a reasonable argument against it.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has signed into law a bill that protects transgender people from discrimination.

Dana Beyer says she's been working on getting this bill passed in Maryland for a decade. Herself transgender, Beyer says today was "extremely satisfying."

"We started with a hate crimes bill.... Which was inclusive. And we had a fight—even members of our own community—in order to make that trans-inclusive. And we did that under [Republican] Governor Ehrlich. So that sort of got me started off with the belief that if a Republican governor can sign a trans-inclusive bill, then anything is possible."

Beyer served as a Montgomery County council staffer when that body passed its own anti-discrimination bill in 2007. She called the fight over that shorter, but far more intense than what happened in Annapolis. Opponents of the measure have vowed to get it before state voters this fall, claiming it will allow sexual predators pretending to be women to enter female bathrooms.

Beyer says that argument is nothing but rehashing of old stereotypes. "There have been no such incidents that they create as a fantasy," Beyer says.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Richard Madaleno of Montgomery County, agrees.

"It is such a fraudulent claim to talk about bathrooms, onsidering that these laws are in place in 17 other states [and] many jurisdictions across Maryland. There haven't been issues. I think it speaks to more of their own anxieties and fears than the reality."

The agreements between the two might end there, as Madaleno will face Beyer in next month's Democratic primary for his Senate seat.

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