Letter to the Editor: Support Fairness for All

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Dear Editor:

During this past legislative session in Annapolis the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 was passed with large majorities in both chambers. This civil rights bill prohibits discrimination against transgender people in employment, housing and public places such as hotels, restaurants, theaters and sports venues. The bill’s purpose is to address problems facing transgender people living throughout Maryland including the Eastern Shore counties. Yes, believe it or not, there are transgender people married and single, with parents, siblings and children living in Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot and all of our Eastern Shore counties! These families need basic support and protections just like the rest of our citizens. The Fairness for All Marylanders Act is designed to help these families!

The Republican Party led by Del. Parrott and House Minority Whip Kathy Szleiga announced that they are beginning a drive to force a November referendum on Maryland’s new (yet unsigned by Gov. O’Malley) “Fairness For All Marylanders Act of 2014.” During the conference they stated that they oppose SB 212 which they have called the “Bathroom bill” saying it “opens bathrooms to predators, not necessarily transsexuals.” They are using an image of a man peering over the top of a bathroom stall looking down onto a woman to launch their recall drive. This type of behavior (of a male peering over the top of a toilet stall) is fully prosecutable under existing laws and has nothing to do with the Fairness to all Marylanders Act. Please be reassured that transgender people have been using bathrooms that match their gender for hundreds years with out incident!

One of the stumbling blocks of the passage of Civil Rights legislation in the 1960’s was the bathroom issue. Back in those dark ages some thought it was abhorrent that African Americans would use the same bathrooms as white people. This same tired old argument is being used again by the Republicans as they continue to instill unjustified fear among the citizens. It seems that Del. Parrott and the Minority Whip will preach “Liberty and Justice for all” but are unable to practice what they preach and will use gutter toilet tactics to defeat protections for groups they don’t approve of. This is really pure hate, fear mongering and the abuse of the people’s trust. Please DO NOT SIGN this petition and please ask your friends not to sign it either. If you see these petition people out and about, make it clear to them that thoughtful Marylanders and the people of the Eastern Shore know better than to stoop this low and expect a more civilized tone of debate.

Kendall Ruffatto, PFLAG Chestertown Chapter, President
Linda Dutton, PFLAG Chestertown Chapter Secretary
Jonathan Chace, PFLAG Chestertown Chapter Treasurer

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