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Transgender Bill Opponents Speak Out at Council Meeting

Council approves new lease with Baltimore County Revenue Authority, improvements to the animal shelter and a $4.5 million bond issuance for a windshield wiper manufacturer in Halethorpe.

Opponents of a proposed bill returned to Towson Monday night to speak out against the proposed legislation.

Ann Miller, a Republican activist, told the council that opponents "are not the bigotted, hate-mongers we're labeled as by the special interests backing this bill.

"Our concerns are valid and serious and (the bill) would negatively impact the entire county," said Miller.

The testimony of about 15 people was nearly identical to that given two weeks ago when Councilman Tom Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat, first introduced the bill.

The bill will be similar to a law passed last month by the Howard County Council, Quirk said. Proponents of the legislation say it was spurred by a highly- publicized attack on Chrissy Polis, a transgendered Rosedale woman, last year.

One of the most controversial aspects of the law is a section dealing with the use of public accommodations, including public restrooms.

Miller said the words "gender identity and expression" were problematic and asked that they be removed from the bill. She also raised concerns about the potential for educational requirements related to transgender persons.

Supporters of the bill said there is no requirement for schools to teach transgender related classes.

Mark Patro, president of the Baltimore County chapter of  Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians, was the only supporter of the bill to testify.

"There's nobody here from my community here tonight because we literally get tired of listening to this when they beat on us constantly," said Patro. "They start their speech with a lie and they ram it until it sounds reasonable."

Patro said the bill is about "reaching out to people who are not protected."

The council is scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill, which has three co-sponsors, next Tuesday.

The bill is similar to one passed in Howard County last year and state law that was rejected by the Maryland General Assembly a year ago.

Earlier in the evening, the council unanimously approved:

• A resolution that calls on the city, which owns the Loch Raven Reservoir property, and biking enthusiasts to develop a partnership aimed at enhancing the trail system and protecting the reservoir.

The resolution carries no legal requirements.

• A with the Baltimore County Revenue Authority. The lease governs the authority's management of four Towson-area public parking garages and allows the county to take control of the Washington and Baltimore Avenue facilities when bonds for those garages are paid off in 2019.

"Over the years it's become clear that the it pays fees on," said Fred Homan during a meeting last week. He added: "We end up being responsible for most of what goes on" at the garage.

• Spending $22,460 for improvements to the county animal shelter including work on the "get acquainted" room used for adoptions. A majority of the money used comes from an endowment left by the estate of .

• A three-year contract with Realauction.com to manage online tax sales. The contract has seven one-year extensions. Total value of the 10-year deal is not to exceed $100,000.

• Issuing up to $4.5 million in revenue bonds to allow Alberee Products to finance costs associated with the purchase and renovation of a building in the 4600 block of Hollins Ferry Road in Halethorpe. The company, which manufactures windshield wiper blades, moved from Baltimore City to the building in the Southwest Enterprise Zone in September 2010.

The county said it expects the company to expand its workforce from 70 to 97 by September 2013.

The county does not incur any liability and Alberee will repay all principal and interest on the bonds.

Tim February 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Mike: I hear your point, however let's not pretend this is the only bill - passed or proposed on any issue - that requires a lawyer to interpret the complexity of issues it covers. Heck, we could go back to removal of segregation for a recent example. What I'm seeing is too many people here attempting to use legal crutches to hide their latent bigotry. Just like back then.
Buck Harmon February 13, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Tim, You have just proven the point that this law is poorly developed and will never be effective... that's my take on your last comment.
Tim February 13, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Buck: Your opinion is your own, of course. Fact, however, is that many laws on the books require lawyer interpretation. Otherwise, there wouldn't be so many of them. This attempt at throwing wording arguments at the bill, is just thinly veiled bigotry from individuals who are just intelligent bigots - versus stupid ones. This of course, is just my opinion. Here's another opinion: If humanity sucked just a little less, we wouldn't NEED legislation for this.
Lorna D. Rudnikas February 21, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Just a very mild, meek question.....at what point is a man who feels he is and announces that he is a woman to be accepted as a woman? Is it when makeup, dresses, bras, long hair, become the garb worn, is it after surgery, or simply when verbally declared....are we to then refer to these folks as women? At what point in our elementary school system will this societal change be taught? Just trying to get a more clear picture of the future. And, if a person who suffers from "split personality disorder" with male and female personalities...a most serious disorder...when and what effort will be brought to the forefront to protect these folks from discrimination? Just asking. Homeless folks ...many of whom are mentally ill were literally thrown out of institutions years ago because our government did not want to pay the bills and so they handily labeled them "homeless" and threw these helpless folks in with the mix of folks who had lost jobs, etc. and consequently their homes. Please forgive me...just a retired workerbee trying to figure it all out. Been looking it up via google...hard to really get a bead on it. Where, or where does the gender end and trans begin and become complete? Sorry, ya'll have probably gotten beyond these questions...I must have missed it.
Buck Harmon February 21, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Great questions Lorna, mild, meek and unanswered to date. Reasons that I believe this type of legislation will NEVER be able to be fairly enforced in any direction.... curious to see any attempt at a solid answer here.

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