Referendum Effort Launched Against Transgender Measure
Opponents of the council's initiative to prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals are seeking to overturn the law through a referendum. The group has until Feb. 16 to collect more than 25,000 signatures from registered voters to place the measure on the ballot in November 2008.
Leading opponents include members of the group Citizens for Responsible Curriculum who battled the public school system's sex education curriculum. Ruth Jacobs is president of the offshoot group, which is calling itself Maryland Citizens for Responsible Government.
The group contends that the language in the gender identity law is so vague that it would allow biological males, who identify as female, to use the women's restroom or change in a women's locker room. The group also sought exemptions for religious schools in their hiring practices.
"This is a bad law all around and should be repealed," said the group's spokeswoman Michelle Turner.
In addition to Montgomery County, 13 states, the District, Baltimore and 90 local jurisdictions have passed protections for transgender people. In cities with similar laws on the books, government officials said fears of people abusing the law to gain entry into private facilities were unfounded.
The bill, sponsored by Council member Trachtenberg was unanimously approved by the Council and signed into law by Leggett, who said he was convinced that the measure addressed the concerns of opponents about private areas such as bathrooms and locker rooms.
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