'The tide is turning. Many Democratic and Republican leaders are recognizing the importance of transgender equality in the states,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign commended several state-level advancements made this year in the area of protections for transgender Americans.
"The tide is turning. Many Democratic and Republican leaders are recognizing the importance of transgender equality in the states," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "From ensuring that health insurers don't discriminate to protecting transgender people on the job, we see increasing support among state legislators and governors for equal rights regardless of gender identity or expression."
This year, five anti-discrimination measures passed, although several were vetoed by governors:
ﾴIllinois - passed and was signed by Democratic Gov. Blagojevich.
ﾴMaine - passed and was signed by Democratic Gov. Baldacci. The law is suspended until a voter referendum on Nov. 8.
ﾴHawaii - a housing bill passed adding sexual orientation and gender identity to existing law and was signed by Republican Gov. Lingle.
ﾴHawaii - an employment bill was vetoed by Lingle.
ﾴColorado - an employment bill was vetoed by Republican Gov. Owens.
Two hate crime bills passed in Colorado and Maryland and were signed into law by Republican Govs. Owens and Ehrlich. And on Sept. 29, 2005, Republican Gov. Schwarzenegger signed two bills into law that increase protections for transgender Californians and seven other state legislatures passed measures this year extending protections.
One measure prohibits California plans and insurers from denying an individual a plan contract or policy, or coverage for a benefit included in the contract or policy, based on the person's gender identity. The other clarifies that all businesses that provide services, goods or accommodations to the public cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
The last non-inclusive state anti-discrimination or hate crimes bill that has passed was in December 2002 (New York). Since that time every measure that has passed has done so with protections for transgender individuals.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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