Carroll County Times to make announcement regarding transgender rights bill

A group that led three petition drives in 2012 to allow voters the final word on controversial bills, including one legalizing same-sex marriage, could make a similar push in 2014 against a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. has scheduled a press conference for 11 a.m. on Tuesday to make an "announcement regarding (Senate Bill) 212," or what critics call the "bathroom bill."

The measure was passed by the General Assembly in March. The House of Delegates voted 82 to 57 in favor of the bill after the Senate approved the bill by a 32 to 15 vote.

The bill is aimed at giving transgender individuals the same protections given to those who might face discrimination based on race, sex, color, creed, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, age or disability.

Supporters at the State House earlier this year argued that people should not have to worry about losing jobs or being denied housing because of their gender identity.

Opponents said the bill was so loosely written that it would permit men to legally enter women's rest rooms and other private spaces where they are not currently allowed, a point contested by the bill's supporters.

The bill, which has yet to be signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley, would take effect on Oct. 1.

Del. Neil Parrot, R-Hagerstown, who created, issued a press release on Monday announcing the upcoming press conference.

Before Parrott created the website, only one referendum to overturn a state law had made it onto the ballot in 20 years, a 1992 attempt to overturn Maryland's abortion law. That attempt failed. led petition drives that placed three measures passed by the General Assembly on the 2012 ballot : legalizing same-sex marriage, in-state tuition for some immigrants who are here illegally, and the state's congressional redistricting plan.

All three measures were upheld by the voters.

Following those decisions by voters, in 2013 opted against a push for a referendum of Gov. Martin O'Malley's controversial gun-control legislation that the General Assembly passed.

A petition drive is costly, gun-control opponents noted last year when the decision against a petition drive was made.

If does try to rally signatures against Senate Bill 212 to get it on the 2014 ballot, the group will need 55,736 signatures, or 3 percent of all votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.