Del. Neil Parrott became a hero among some conservative Marylanders when he realized in 2012 that the Internet made gathering signatures to put new state legislation up for referendum suddenly viable. That year, he used his website to host signature drives that put the Maryland Dream Act, marriage equality, and our state’s gerrymandered congressional districts to Maryland voters. All three bills were upheld.
In 2013, Parrott’s effort to force a referendum on the repeal of the death penalty failed to get enough signatures. And now the same fate has befallen his petition aimed at the recently passed transgender rights bill Fairness for All Marylanders Act. He and his fellow activists needed approximately 18,500 signatures to meet their first deadline. They were short by about 1,000.
But, wait. Why were conservatives opposed to a bill that made it illegal to discriminate “in housing, employment, and public accommodations” on the basis of gender identity? Because of an absurd fear involving public bathrooms. Or that’s the argument anyway.
Opponents of the bill, which they call the “Bathroom Bill,” claim that a provision protecting the right of people who were born with male anatomy but who identify as female to use the ladies’ room gives male predators a way to spy on women in the bathroom.
The Web page for the petition, which has since been deleted, claimed the bill would allow people to “use the wrong facilities simply based on them saying that at the time they ‘sincerely held as part of [their] core identity’ that they were the opposite sex.” The page characterized the protections as “special rights” for trans people, many of whom, so it implies, “simply act that way so they can prey on easy targets.” Um, citation needed?
Anyway, the transgender rights bill is safe and sound.
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