Cumberland Times-News


April 30, 2014


Subject Md. ‘bathroom law’ to a referendum

Although supporters of what has come to be known as the “Maryland bathroom law” scoff at suggestions predators will invade public restrooms, we believe a petition against the law will garner a lot of support.

The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 expands protection for transgender individuals in Maryland. Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he intends to sign the bill into law.

Proponents of the Fairness for All Marylanders Act believe the law an important piece of civil rights legislation that will stop discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing and public places, which includes hotels, restaurants, theaters and sports venues. It includes an exemption for religious organizations, private clubs and educational institutions.

We fully support the ban on discrimination. At the same time, we believe the provision in the law permitting transgender individuals to go into an opposite-sex bathroom is problematic.

“It opens it up to predators, not necessarily transsexuals, but predators who will take advantage and go into the opposite-sex bathroom,” said Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Washington County), who is chairman of the group calling for a referendum on the law.

Supporters of the law disagree. “Delegate Parrott’s misleading comments about bathrooms would almost be comical if he weren’t using these scare tactics to confuse the public and oppose basic civil rights protections in employment, housing, services, and public spaces,” Jer Welter of the FreeState Legal Project, a legal advocacy group that assists Maryland’s low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, said in a statement on Tuesday.

There was heavy debate about the legislation this General Assembly session. The bill passed the House of Delegates on an 82-57 vote and won Senate approval by a margin of 32-15. During the debates many of the lawmakers expressed concerns about the public restroom access for transgenders.

The petition calling for a referendum is posted on the website . Under the Maryland constitution, recently passed laws can be petitioned to the ballot by gathering signatures from the equivalent of 3 percent of those who voted in the last race for governor, which this year is around 55,700.

There is enough concern about the law that a referendum is needed.

Text Only
  • Time to do it Time to do it

    It never made sense that criminal background checks were not made on medical license applications in Maryland. Fortunately — for the protection everybody — the background investigations may soon be a matter of routine.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Get involved Get involved

    Cumberland residents who want to make an impact on their community have an opportunity in that the city is seeking applicants for five of its boards.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • If we don’t sell it to them, somebody else will

    The front page article on coal exports by AP writer Dina Cappiello is one of the most asinine and biased “news” articles I’ve read (“Not in my backyard: U.S. sending dirty coal abroad,” July 29 Times-News, Page 1A).

    July 30, 2014

  • Not a villain Not a villain

    Time was that we looked for heroes. Heroes of the make-believe variety have sold a lot of comic books. We also had real-life heroes like Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, whose deaths the whole nation mourned.
    These days, we seem to be more interested in looking for villains. “Vote for me because I’m the good guy” has taken a back seat to “Don’t vote for him, because he’s the bad guy.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • About time About time

    Although many Cumberland streets are in need of repair and improvements, the decision by city and county officials to address Greene Street is a good one.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where is it?

    Once upon a time, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce held its annual conventions at the Bedford Springs resort hotel near Bedford, which is in Pennsylvania.

    July 28, 2014

  • Korean War Korean War

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sloppy lawmaking is to blame

    July 27, 2014

  • C-minus grade C-minus grade

    If a survey conducted by and the Kaufman Foundation is an accurate portrayal, Maryland has a long way to go to become a business-friendly state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big loophole Big loophole

    How ironic — and how sad — that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority plans a closed executive session to discuss the open meetings law.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story