Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Delaware is willing to protect its Transgender Citizens

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

It’s been an interesting week for Transgender Victories, starting with the Social Security Administration allowing a person to change their gender listing, then the American Medical Association’s decision in supporting accurate birth certificates for Transgender people. Several states are now taking the initiative to allow room in athletic programs for Trans Kids, all while we await the decisions on DOMA and ENDA from the Supreme Court and Congress.
The fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1868 and states; No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Yesterday, Delaware became the 17th state, along with the Common Wealth of Puerto Rico, to adhere to these principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution by passing a bill that would add gender identity and expression to the state’s anti-discrimination and the thirteenth State to add to hate crimes laws. The 24-17 vote came less than a week after Senate Bill 97 passed out of the House Administration Committee. Delaware is now the 14th state to include full gender identity protection. New York Legislature is currently considering a similar measure.

Many supports are quick to point out to States that cover sexual orientation under hate crime laws, that Transgender people are not protected from such discrimination based on sexual orientation because they can be straight or gay. The only Republican to vote for the bill, Rep. Michael Ramone of Newark said, “I believe transgender persons mostly just want to be accepted and fit in.”

Today, the fine Gov. of Delaware, Jack Markell (D), signed into law the Transgender rights bill, that will now prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, insurance and public accommodations and includes gender identity as a protected class under Delaware’s hate-crimes law. After signing, Governor Markell (D) said, “Our mission to build a welcoming and accepting state that can compete in the global economy requires laws that reflect our values. Today, we guarantee that our transgender relatives and neighbors can work hard, participate in our communities and live their lives with dignity and safety.”

It is clear, states headed by the Democratic Party are more willing and able to abide by the laws of the Constitution and grant equality for those in the LGBT community and especially the Trans*. Our Community will do well to remember those that have opened the doors to us so far this year and cast their future ballots as such, remembering who stands for you and who’s against you. We thank you Delaware.
States that now have laws banning discrimination based on gender identity/expression and sexual orientation; The District of Columbia, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New Mexico, California, Illinois, Maine, Hawaii, New Jersey, Washington, Iowa, Oregon, Vermont, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, Massachusetts and the Common Wealth of Puerto Rico.

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