2014 Legislative Session - Transgender Equality
Transgender Civil Rights Protections
The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 (SB 212)
COMPREHENSIVE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION legislation should include gender identity and expression in Maryland. Legislation should protect ALL Maryland residents from housing, public accommodations, credit and employment discrimination regardless of gender identity or expression. These rights are not yet a reality for all residents of Maryland, particularly for transgender people.
WHY UU'S SUPPORT ANTI-DISCRIMINATION: Unitarian Universalists have been on the forefront of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights for decades. The consistency and integrity of our justice claims sends a strong and steady message that advocacy for equal rights for all is a sustainable faith principle.
We believe in freedom and justice for all, without reservation or judgment, because we affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We are each born a unique gesture of creation that has the sacred right to thrive in our fullness.
We bring this fullness to being by practicing justice, equity and compassion in human relations, and recognizing our respect for the interdependent web of all existence. Each one of us informs the whole. We must have equal access to the rights and responsibilities of a society to fully dwell within it. In a democratic society, this translates as equal protection under law.
BACKGROUND ON ISSUE: Transgender Civil Rights Protections is win-win legislation. It is positive legislation that does not impact the budget and it strengthens general productivity among Marylanders. Discrimination weakens the fabric of society, not only in limiting full participation of all constituents, but also in implicitly encouraging incivility and violence toward fellow citizens. When the State indicates by statute, or lack thereof, that some citizens are more worthy of basic rights than others, then the State encodes discrimination which leads to unfair practices, crippling exclusions and oppression. The cost of discrimination alone, whether monetary, moral or spiritual, should compel lawmakers to extend the anti-discrimination statute to include gender identity.
HOW CAN UU CONGREGATIONS GET INVOLVED? Continued advocacy as a faith community remains an effective tool. Keep in the loop through advocacy and education groups. Get on the UULM-MD e-mail list to receive action alerts. Let your legislators know through contact and letters to the editor that this issue is important to you.
RESOURCES: UULM-MD www.uulmmd.org provides educational resources and serves on the Steering Committee of the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality, www.mdtransequality.org. www.equalitymaryland.org has resources, also. See the UUA’s resources including recommended curricula for congregations and Transgender 101: Identity, Welcome and Resources at www.uua.org/lgbtq/index.shtml.
UULM-MD 2014 Task Force on Gender Equity—Rev. Diane Teichert, Coordinator 1/21/14