Movement in the States on Gender Identity Bills
March 29, 2011 by Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director
March has been a month of substantial movement in state legislatures on bills relating to gender identity. Though not all of these bills will ultimately become law, hearings and votes highlight the seriousness of the discrimination faces by the trans community.
On Saturday, The Maryland House passed a non-discrimination bill adding gender identity to the state’s civil rights laws for the purposes of employment, housing, and credit. The bill moves to the Senate where it will be considered by the Senate Rules Committee.
In California, the Assembly Committee on Judiciary passed a bill would allow a person who has undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition to file a petition in any superior court to recognize the change in gender and, additionally, if applicable, a name change and request for a new birth certificate. The bill would make the physician's affidavit conclusive proof of gender change if it contains specified language.
Last week, Connecticut’s Joint Committee on Judiciary held a public hearing on a bill that would add gender identity to the state’s civil rights laws, including employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit, and utilities. HRC Business Council member Meghan Stabler testified in favor of the bill.
At the beginning of the month, the Hawaii House passed a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity with regard to employment. Hawaii is unusual in that it already has a law prohibiting discrimination in housing and public accommodations without employment protections. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee.
In Nevada, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill expanding provisions governing criminal and civil liability for certain crimes to include crimes motivated by the victim's gender identity. This bill must next be considered by the full Senate.
The New York Assembly Committee on Governmental Operations passed a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, education, housing, public accommodations, and credit. The bill also adds gender identity to the state hate crimes law. The bill must be considered by the full Assembly.
In addition, this month North Carolina legislators introduced a bill to prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in state employment. Texas will have a hearing this week on an non-discrimination bill including gender identity, and Rhode Island has scheduled a hearing on a bill to add gender identity to the hate crimes data collection law.
Note: while many important bills have been introduced this legislative session, only bills that were introduced, had a hearing, or were voted upon this month are included in this update post.
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