Thanks to a judge’s miscalculation in the number of required signatures, Lambda Legal and Equality Maryland have thwarted an attempt to roll back transgender protections via a ballot referendum in Montgomery County, Maryland.
“We’re pleased with this victory. The court ruled in our favor in our challenge to this improper referendum,” said Lambda Legal attorney Natalie Chin. “Though the order was brief, we feel confident that we’ve stopped this referendum from being on November’s ballot.”
Last year, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed legislation adding gender identity as a protected characteristic under the county’s civil rights law in order to address discrimination against transgender individuals.
A group calling itself Citizens for Responsible Government immediately began collecting signatures to block the law from going into effect. The group submitted its signatures and county said sufficient names were collected to put the issue on the ballot in November. Lambda Legal, together with Equality Maryland, represented a group of Montgomery County registered voters who oppose the referendum effort and went to court to fight it. Lambda argued in lower court that the Montgomery County Board of Elections used the wrong formula to determine the required number of signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot.
The Citizens For Responsible Government have tried the usual man-in-the-locker-room scare tactics in their fight to deny transfolk civil protections. From their website (with the URL: NotMyShower.com):
No longer will women and girls be able to feel completely safe in the most private and personal bathroom and locker facilities of schools, public pools, malls, stores, health clubs, restaurants and other such public places throughout the county. County Executive Ike Leggett signed Bill 23-07, the outrageous legislation that may result in forcing even religious schools to hire transgender teachers; and then also allow cross-dressing but biological males in your daughter’s school locker room.
Montgomery County is located between DC and Baltimore.