Opponents of a new law that protects transgendered Marylanders against discrimination failed to gain enough signatures to bring the measure before voters this fall.
MDPetitions.org founder and chairman Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Dist. 2B) of Hagerstown said in a statement that opponents fell about 1,000 signatures short of the number required to continue collecting signatures and bring the law to referendum this fall.
“After a huge push this week, we worked late tonight to collect and count all of the petitions that came in from all over the state,” Parrott said in a statement on MDPetitions.org. “We counted just over 17,500 valid signatures — about 1,000 signatures short of the first deadline requirement. Amazingly enough, we received over 6,000 signatures in just the last two days.” Of the valid signatures, 1,989 came from Montgomery County, according to Parrott’s site.
Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Dist. 18) of Kensington sponsored the legislation that passed, adding gender identity to Maryland’s anti-discrimination laws.
Madaleno, who worked for seven years to pass the protections, said he went to Annapolis Saturday, the night the signatures were due.
“I sat there from 11 [p.m.] to 12 [a.m.] at the secretary of state’s office waiting for [Parrott] to show up, ready to celebrate the fact that he was nowhere near the requirement,” Madaleno said. Even before lawmakers took a final vote on Madaleno’s bill this session, opponents of the bill termed it the “bathroom bill” and Parrott said they were poised to gather signatures for a referendum challenge.
Opponents claimed the law allows men to use women’s restrooms and threatens the safety of women and children by providing would-be sexual offenders a possible loophole.
Gov. Martin J. O’Malley signed Madaleno’s bill into law on May 15.
“It’s great to see Maryland embrace the concept of fairness and equality for all,” Madaleno said.