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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 21, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 25
Delaware enacts Transgender rights law
Section One
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Delaware enacts Transgender rights law

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed a Transgender rights bill into law on June 19, only hours after it was passed by the state Senate.

The new law adds gender identity and expression to the state's existing anti-discrimination statutes, covering employment, housing, public accommodations, public works, contracting, and insurance. Crimes against Trans individuals were also added to the state's hate crimes law.

'Discrimination on the basis of gender identity is inherently wrong,' Markell said. 'Legislation to prohibit it is inherently right.'

The bill passed the Delaware Senate by 11 votes to 9 earlier in the day. The Delaware House of Representatives had already passed the measure on June 18.

A provision added by the House clarified that gender identity is demonstrated by 'consistent and uniform assertion of the gender identity or any other evidence that the gender identity is sincerely held as part of a person's core identity.'

The House amendment also stated that gender identity cannot be asserted 'for any improper purpose,' an apparent concession to some members' fears that individuals might assert a false identity to gain access to restrooms reserved for the opposite sex.

According to ThinkProgress.org, the bill had 'bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.'

ACTIVISTS CHEER PASSAGE
National LGBT rights organizations celebrated the new law.

'Until today, Delaware was one of five states in the nation that had nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation but not on the basis of gender identity,' the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said in a statement. 'The other states still left are Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Maryland, and New York. The Task Force is committed to ensuring protections in those states as well as passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to provide federal employment protections.'

'The Delaware Legislature sent a clear message today that Transgender residents deserve to be treated equally and protected under the law,' said HRC President Chad Griffin. 'Delaware advocates and lawmakers are standing up and ensuring that the First State is one which welcomes all people, and provides the same protections and opportunities.'

'Equality Delaware is so grateful for the support and expertise of HRC in helping us pass the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Bill,' said Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman. 'HRC stayed on the ground in Delaware through the entire process and was invaluable in helping us attain these protections for Transgender Delawareans.'

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