Gov. Larry Hogan has issued an amended version of his first executive order, after LGBT advocates criticized it for not acknowledging gender identity in a list of protected classes in the state.
Gov. Larry Hogan has issued an amended version of his first executive order, after LGBT advocates criticized it for not acknowledging gender identity in a list of protected classes in the state. (Photo by Kenneth K. Lam)

Gov. Larry Hogan's first executive order after taking office last week didn't sit well with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates, who said it disregarded hard-won legal protections for transgender residents in Maryland.

His second order -- really an amended version of the first -- was an attempt to fix that.

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The new version of the order advises executive branch employees to "adhere to all applicable laws and regulations that provide equal opportunity for all Marylanders" regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, sexual oritentation, marital status and gender identity.

The original version had excluded marital status and gender identity, prompting LGBT advocates to immediately call on the governor to add the language. The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 provides explicit protections based on gender identity in the state.

Couples in same-sex marriages, which are legal in Maryland, can still face problems due to a lack of recognition of such marriages in some pockets of society and in other jurisdictions.

"The amended executive order reflects what was the Governor's original intention: to be inclusive and respectful of the rights of all Marylanders," said Erin Montgomery, a spokeswoman, in an email.

The move, made Friday, solves one grievance brought against Hogan by the LGBT community in his first hours in office, but not another. Hogan last week also pulled back a regulation that would have explicitly prevented Medicaid providers in the state from discriminating against patients based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The regulation was one of five Hogan prevented from going into effect Friday. He said he did so because he didn't like how they had been pushed through toward the end of his predecessor Gov. Martin O'Malley's tenure and he wanted to review them before they take effect.

The original executive order language and the move to stop the Medicaid regulation were condemned by local LGBT advocacy groups -- including Equality Maryland, the state's largest, and Free State Legal -- but also national groups such as the National LGBTQ Task Force. Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis in a statement about Hogan's early actions, including his pulling back the Medicaid regulation, said they showed Hogan "is every bit the Conservative Republican that he tried to hide during the campaign."

Hogan has voiced a message of "tolerance and mutual respect" in taking office and a desire to work across the partisan divide in the state.

Equality Maryland said it would "continue to keep the pressure on" Hogan over the Medicaid regulation.

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