'This critical law signals that hate has no place in Maryland,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign lauded Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich of Maryland for signing into law a measure that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to existing hate crimes law.
"This critical law signals that hate has no place in Maryland," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the state of Maryland now know that all hate crimes will be equally investigated and prosecuted. We praise Equality Maryland, the legislators and the governor for ensuring these important protections become law."
Maryland becomes the ninth state, plus the District of Columbia, with a hate crimes law addressing bias crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Those states include: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Twenty-one other states have hate crimes laws covering bias crimes based on sexual orientation.
HRC worked with the statewide GLBT advocacy group, Equality Maryland, to secure passage of the bill. HRC's work included: providing expert testimony in several committees, providing technical assistance to the bill sponsors and sending Action Alerts to members in Maryland on behalf of Equality Maryland.
Del. Adrienne Jones, D-Baltimore County, and Sen. John Giannetti Jr., D-Prince George's and Anne Arundel Counties, sponsored the bill. The House of Delegates passed it on March 24, 2005, by a 93-41 vote. The Senate passed the measure April 8, by a 34-13 vote.
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