Maryland Gender Identity Discrimination Referendum (2014)

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The Maryland Gender Identity Discrimination Referendum was not on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Maryland as a veto referendum. The measure, upon voter disapproval, would have overturned Senate Bill 212, which added "gender identity" to various state non-discrimination policies.[1]

Since the measure was not successfully placed on the ballot, SB 212 did the following:[1]

  • Defined “Gender Identity” as “the gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth, which may be demonstrated by: (1) Consistent and uniform assertion of the person’s gender identity; Or (2) any other evidence that the gender identity is sincerely held as part of the person’s core identity” (Ann. Code Maryland Section 20–101(e)).
  • Defined the following as “place[s] of public accommodation:” (1) inns, hotels, motels or other establishments for transient guests; (2) restaurants, cafeterias, lunchrooms, lunch counters, soda fountains or other facilities engaged in selling food or beverages for consumption; (3) movie theaters, concert halls, sports arenas, stadiums or other places of exhibition or entertainment; (4) retail establishments operated by public or private entities that offer goods, services, entertainment, recreation or transportation; (5) and establishments physically located within the premises of any other establishment covered in the subtitle (Ann. Code Maryland Section 20–301).
  • Prohibited the owner or operator of a “place of public accommodation” or “commercial property” from refusing, withholding or denying to any person any of the accommodations, facilities or privileges of the place because of the person’s gender identity (Ann. Code Maryland 20-304, 20-501).
  • Allowed denial of services based on gender identity in certain circumstances: (1) private clubs that are not open to the public; (2) facilities designed to accommodate only a particular sex; and (3) establishments for transient guests in which the establishment is occupied by the proprietor as the proprietor’s residence and consists of no more than five rooms for rent; and (4) private and public facilities designed to accommodate only a particular sex, designed to be used simultaneously by more than one user of the same sex and in which it is customary to undress in view of other users in the facility (Ann. Code Maryland 20-303).
  • Prohibited discrimination in employment based on gender identity, except with respect to religious corporations, associations, educational institutions and societies (Ann. Code Maryland 20-602, 20-604).
  • Prohibited employers and labor organizations from withholding an employee’s privileges, terms and conditions, modifying compensation, segregating, or from excluding or firing because of the employee’s gender identity (Ann. Code Maryland 20-606).
  • Required employers to allow any employee to appear, groom and dress consistent with the employee’s gender identity (Ann. Code Maryland 20-605).
  • Required the state to provide for fair housing to all, regardless of a person’s gender identity, with some exceptions (Ann. Code Maryland 20-702).
  • Prohibited real estate-related businesses from discriminating against any person in making available a transaction because of their gender identity (Ann. Code Maryland 20-707).
  • Prohibited a person from willfully injuring, intimidating, interfering with or attempting to injure any person because of their gender identity (Ann. Code Maryland 20-707).
  • Required the state to make employment choices without regard to an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation (Ann. Code Maryland 2-302).

Rasmussen Reports found, via a national poll, that, "Americans generally favor laws like those recently passed in California and Maryland that ban discrimination against men and women who claim to be the opposite sex, but opposition increases dramatically when they are told these laws may allow biological men to freely use women's public bathrooms and vice versa."[2] The Daily Record stated, in reaction to the report, that the veto referendum's success or failure hinged on how voters react to the so-called "bathroom question."[3] led the signature collection campaign to put the veto referendum on the ballot.[4]


Note: Supporters are campaigning for a "no" vote.

Supporters of the referendum, who opposed SB 212, called the legislation the Transgender Bathroom Bill. announced on April 29, 2014, that the group would initiate a signature collection to put SB 212 on the ballot as a veto referendum.[4] Opponents were specifically critical of the bill's "public accommodations" provision, which, they claim, would allow people to use rest rooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms and showers based on their gender identity.[5]




  • Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays[8]
  • Maryland Catholic Conference


Rep. Neil C. Parrott (R-28), the chief architect of, voted against SB 212 and advocated for the veto referendum:

  • "The problem is you send your daughter into the bathroom, and you expect it’s going to be girls and women in the bathroom. And instead you find out there’s a 45-year-old man in the bathroom with them. It really goes against nature.”[6]
  • "It opens it up to predators, not necessarily transsexuals, but predators who will take advantage and go into the opposite-sex bathroom."[7]

Rep. Kathy Afzali (R-4A) voted against the bill. She argued:

  • "HB 1265 seeks to create a new class of protected individuals in the state’s anti-discrimination statute. Specifically, the bill defines ‘gender identity’ as ‘appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth. It is important that Maryland does not separate one’s ‘gender identity’ and their ‘assigned sex at birth’ as noted in the bill. Like the majority of Marylanders, I share the view that this redefinition rejects our society’s understanding of human nature. So ladies if you happen to see a guy in a dress in the restaurant bathroom, you’ll know the bill passed and that I voted no."[9]
  • “How do you judge ‘sincerely held?’ Sexual predators and pedophiles are mentally ill. So having them say ‘I sincerely feel in my heart I’m a woman’ is not a stretch. This leadership in Annapolis would rather ram this down on citizens than respect and protect women and girls. Their attempt to protect a tiny percentage of people from discrimination opened up half of our population to potential predators who would use this law nefariously.”[10]

Emily Miller, author and senior editor for The Washington Times, stated her opposition to the bill. She made the following arguments:[10]

  • “Maryland moms and dads will now have to be more vigilant when their children use public bathrooms. It will soon be legal for a man who simply says he identifies as a woman to use the ladies’ room. This serious risk for sexual assaults of women and little girls is all in the name of political correctness. And this is just the latest in a string of successes by the transgender lobby.”
  • “The state does not specify that a person must have undergone a sex-change operation to have their legal rights of “gender identity” protected. A man doesn’t even have to dress like a woman.” To be considered transgender, you just have to give a “consistent and uniform assertion” of believing you are supposed to be the opposite sex. Or, a person has to provide evidence that the non-biological sex is “sincerely held as part of the person’s core identity.”
  • "Mandatory insurance coverage for sex-change operations and men using women’s bathrooms are the kind of nonsense laws that happens when liberal politicians act on emotional appeals, rather than facts and common sense."
  • "One upside to the Maryland bathroom bill is that I will no longer have to stand in the long line for the women’s bathroom at an Orioles game at Camden Yards. I’ll just don a baseball cap and saunter into an empty stall in the men’s room, averting my eyes from the wall of urinals. If anyone stops me, I’ll say I feel like a man."

Other arguments against the bill included:

  • Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays issued an e-mail alert, saying, "Already some grown men try to hide in women’s bathrooms to commit their crimes, as in the case of Frank F. Fuchs, a Missouri resident, who hid in public restroom stalls at least twice with avideo camera, which he used to film occupants of nearby stalls. Under this bill Frank would be quite welcome to boldly walk into the ladies’ room where he would continue taping… or worse. All he has to do is claim he identifies as a woman."[8]


Note: Opponents are campaigning for a "yes" vote.

Opponents of the referendum, who supported SB 212, called the legislation the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014.[8]




  • Equality Maryland[5]
  • Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality
  • TransMaryland[11]
  • National Coalition of American Nuns[8]


Equality Maryland posted on their website the following arguments in favor of SB 212:[12]

  • "You may know some transgender people in your own life – your family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors. Or, you may know some transgender people who are in public life or on TV or in the news. Transgender people are just like everyone else: they want to be able to work, shop, eat dinner, and go home at night without the fear that someone will discriminate against them for who they are."
  • "Adding protection on the basis of gender identity to civil rights law is a mainstream idea, and it’s the right thing to do. Five localities in Maryland, comprising about half the state’s population, already prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity (Baltimore City (2001), Baltimore County (2012), Montgomery County (2007), Howard County (2011), and the City of Hyattsville (2013)). So do seventeen other states and the District of Columbia, as well as almost 200 localities nationwide."
  • "The Fairness For All Marylanders Act is not a “bathroom bill.” As discussed, the term “place of public accommodation” includes establishments like restaurants, hotels, and stores. It does not mean a restroom. However, if an establishment is a place of public accommodation (such as a store or restaurant), all facilities in that place of public accommodation, including the restrooms, are covered by the Civil Rights Law, and cannot be offered on a discriminatory basis. The public accommodations provisions of the Civil Rights Law as it already exists contains an exception from the prohibition on sex discrimination for facilities of a place of public accommodation that are “distinctly personal and private” and are “designed to accommodate only a particular sex.” This means that establishments can have separate men’s and women’s restrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, and so forth. The Fairness for All Marylanders Act does not change this."

Other arguments in favor of the bill or against the referendum included:

  • Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “It is critical that the Maryland legislature gets to the unfinished business of protecting transgender citizens from discrimination. No one should ever have to worry about losing their job or accessing safe and affordable housing simply because of who they are. We hope Maryland's fair-minded lawmakers will act on this critical bill quickly."[13]

Tactics and strategies

The Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality and Equality Maryland launched the Stand for Fairness Campaign. The educational campaign aimed at "demonstrating the broad support for fairness for transgender Marylanders and clearing up misconceptions about the bill." Carrie Evans of Equality Maryland said, "The Stand for Fairness campaign will give our broad base of supporters the opportunity to share all the reasons why they support fairness for transgender Marylanders, as well as put a face to the issue by elevating the stories of transgender people facing discrimination. This year Maryland's elected officials stood for fairness by passing The Fairness for All Marylanders Act. Now we're working to make sure Marylanders in every corner of the state understand the bill."[14]

Media editorial positions


  • The Baltimore Sun said, "We would like to think that the petitioners won't be able to find 55,736 people who would be willing to sign on to their effort. But if they do, we have every confidence that the majority of voters will do just what they did when the Dream Act and marriage equality were petitioned to the ballot, and that is to reaffirm that we believe in the fundamental human rights of everyone who calls Maryland home."[15]
  • Washington Post said, "Mr. Parrott and his allies need to gather more than 55,000 petition signatures to compel a vote on the anti-discrimination bill. If they accomplish that, Maryland voters will again have a chance to demonstrate their preference for tolerance."[16]


See also: Polls, 2014 ballot measures

The following poll, conducted by the Goucher Poll, regarded Senate Bill 212. According to the poll, 71 percent said they approved of the bill, while 20 percent said they opposed the bill.[17]

Maryland Gender Identity Discrimination Referendum (2014)
Poll Support OpposeUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Goucher Poll
3/2/2014 - 3/6/2014
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing ballot measures in Maryland

Proponents of the veto referendum needed to collect 18,579 valid signatures by the 40th day past the bill's signing into law or May 31, 2014, and 37,157 valid signatures by June 30, 2014. Therefore, supporters needed to collect 55,736 valid signatures in total.[18]

Around March 30, 2014, issued an online survey to gauge whether or not survey takers opposed SB 212. The organization was responsible for getting all three veto referendums on the ballot in 2012. Rep. Neil Parrott (R-2B) is the chairman of the organization.[19] announced that they would pursue a veto referendum on April 29, 2014.[4]'s veto referendum did not make the ballot after the group came up about 1,000 signatures short.[20]

SB 212

SB 212 was approved by the Maryland Senate on March 4, 2014, with 32 senators in favor and 15 against. SB 212 was approved by the Maryland House of Delegates on March 27, 2014, with 82 delegates in favor and 57 against.[21] Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) signed the bill on May 15, 2014.[22]

March 4, 2014 Senate vote

Maryland SB 212 Senate Vote
Approveda Yes 32 68.09%

March 27, 2014 House vote

Maryland SB 212 House Vote
Approveda Yes 82 58.99%

See also

Suggest a link

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Maryland Legislature, "Senate Bill 212 Text," accessed March 6, 2014
  2. Rasmussen Reports, "Support for Transgender Anti-Discrimination Laws Turns on Public Restroom Question," May 13, 2014
  3. The Daily Record, "Transgender referendum may hinge on bathroom question," May 13, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Capital Gazette, "Group launches effort to place Maryland transgender rights bill on 2014 ballot," April 29, 2014 (dead link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Washington Times, "Public accommodations provision in Md. transgender rights bill draws outcry," March 6, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Washington Post, "Maryland Senate passes bill banning discrimination against transgender people," March 4, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Washington Post, "Conservative activists launch petition to put rights for transgender people on the Md. ballot," April 29, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 The Bay Net, "Maryland Senate passes transgender 'bathroom bill'," March 6, 2014
  9. Washington Blade, "Maryland lawmaker: trans bill would ‘normalize abnormal behavior’," March 23, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Washington Times, "MILLER: Maryland’s bathroom bill benefits few transgenders, puts all girls at risk from pedophiles," April 2, 2014
  11. Metro Weekly, "Maryland Coalition Launches Stand for Fairness Campaign," April 24, 2014
  12. Equality Maryland, "Get the Facts About Senate Bill 212," accessed April 16, 2014
  13. Advocate, "Maryland Senate Passes Trans Nondiscrimination Bill," March 4, 2014
  14. Baltimore Sun, "Looking Out: Coalition launches campaign to promote Maryland's new transgender protections," April 17, 2014
  15. The Baltimore Sun, "Another misguided petition drive," May 4, 2014
  16. Washington Post, "Maryland conservatives’ quixotic fight against transgender protections," May 6, 2014
  17. Metro Weekly, "Goucher Poll shows widespread support for Maryland's gender-identity bill," March 13, 2014
  18. Maryland State Board of Elections, "2014 Statewide Referendum Petition Filing," accessed March 6, 2014
  19. Metro Weekly, "Maryland conservatives weighing challenge to transgender-rights bill," March 31, 2014 (dead link)
  20. The Baltimore Sun, "Bid to overturn Maryland transgender rights bill fails," June 1, 2014
  21. Maryland Legislature, "SB0212 History," accessed March 28, 2014
  22. CBS DC, "Gov. O’Malley Signs Bill To Stop Transgender Discrimination," May 15, 2014