Court: Civil rights are trans rights

A new law protects transgender people in Montgomery County, Md., from discrimination.

Published September 10, 2008 9:06PM (EDT)

Here's a good news pill to temporarily alleviate your Palin pains: After a fierce court battle, a law banning discrimination against transgender people went into effect Tuesday in Montgomery County, Md. The measure was passed nearly a year ago, but before it took effect, conservative activists successfully petitioned to force it to the November ballot. Yes, the question of whether a transgender person is entitled to basic civil rights was to be decided by ballot. Until Tuesday, that is, when the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's ruling in favor of the ballot initiative. Now, transgender people in Montgomery County are legally protected from "discrimination based on gender identity in housing, employment, taxi service, cable service and public accommodations," according to the Washington Post.

In a press release, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) celebrated the ruling. "The anti-transgender campaign in Montgomery County was based on bigotry and fueled by misinformation," said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG. "Today's ruling sends a clear message that opponents of equality are not above the law, and our transgender loved ones are not below it." To put it simply, as Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese did: "No one's civil rights should ever be put to a vote."

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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