A bill to protect transgender Marylanders from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations was filed Tuesday in Annapolis by Sen. Richard Madaleno.
The bill's language is similar to that of past bills that also sought to establish a statewide ban on discrimination based on gender identity or expression, but which have all failed in recent years.
Madaleno, a Democrat from Montgomery County, formally filed the bill with the Senate clerk on Tuesday, though it likely won't be considered until later this week.
The bill has 24 co-sponsors, including Sen. Brian Frosh and Sen. Robert Zirkin, who were not co-sponsors of the failed transgender rights bill Madaleno introduced last year.
Both Frosh and Zirkin sit on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, where Madaleno's previous bill died and where the new bill will first be introduced.
Del. Luke Clippinger, a Baltimore Democrat, is expected to bring the bill forward in the House of Delegates, where a similar bill previously passed.
The bill is also expected to receive the support of many top ranking officials in Maryland this year, including Gov. Martin O'Malley. The three Democratic officials looking to take O'Malley's job -- Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur -- all support the legislation.
Equality Maryland, which is the state's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights organization, named the transgender rights bill its top priority this legislative session.
Carrie Evans, Equality Maryland's executive director, said she believes there are the votes this session to pass the bill. She said getting it passed is Equality Maryland's "laser focus."
"No one deserves to be fired, refused work, denied housing, education or credit, or suffer harassment or violence just because of who they are," the organization has said of the legislation.
Transgender people already have certain protections in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun