Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz signed the gender anti-discrimination bill into law on February 28. Earlier this month, the Baltimore County Council passed the legislation, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation, in the areas of housing, employment, public accommodations, and financing on February 21, according to a joint press release from Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) Baltimore County and Gender Rights Maryland (GRMD), an organization dedicated to enacting similar statewide protections—the two groups that initiated the bill. The measure passed on a 5-2 vote.
“This is a great day for Baltimore County” said Mark Patro, Chapter President of PFLAG Baltimore County, about the Feb. 21 vote. “Despite pressure from opposition groups, the County Council was able to look past the rhetoric of fear and do the right thing by securing these critical civil rights for all residents of Baltimore County.”
“Our success here in Baltimore County, and a few months ago in Howard County, is a testament to the forward thinking of our local elected officials. We would like to thank the entire Council for having the courage to pass this legislation and, in particular, Councilmember Tom Quirk for being a steadfast champion for passage of this bill. In the past 6 months we have collectively brought these protections to over one million more Marylanders. This should be a strong message to Annapolis that it is time to lead the rest of the state on this matter,” said Sharon Brackett, Board Chair for Gender Rights Maryland.
“Baltimore County will now join Howard, and Montgomery County and Baltimore City as the fourth jurisdiction in Maryland supporting these rights. This is a clear sign of exciting and changing times in Maryland for advocates of civil rights,” added Brackett.