Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Don't They Have Anything Better To Do In Dover?

Debate Over
Gender ID Discrimination Bill Moves to the House
A controversial anti-discrimination bill squeaked through the Senate this week with the minimum number of voters needed for passage.
Senate Bill 97 cleared the 21-member Senate on a vote of 11 to 7 (with one member absent and two not voting) on Thursday, just eight days after its introduction. Support and opposition was mildly split, with each camp including members of both political parties. Ten Democrats and one Republican voted for passage. Five Republicans and two Democrats voted "no."
The legislation seeks to add the term "gender identity" to the already-existing list of prohibited practices of discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, public works contracting, public accommodations and insurance. It would also provide increased penalties for those criminals who select their victims based on the victims' gender identity.
Sponsored by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, the bill defines "gender identity" as "a gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of a person, regardless of the person's assigned sex at birth." Supporters say the bill is intended to protect the rights of transgendered people and is supported by Equality Delaware, a group formed to advocate for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Opponents believe the bill infringes on the rights of other members of society and say it is being rushed through the General Assembly, preventing the measure from being properly vetted and increasing the chances it could have unintended consequences.
The bill has been assigned to the House Administration Committee and has been slated for consideration by the panel on Wednesday (6/12) at 2:30 p.m.
The House Administration Committee consists of the collective leadership of the House of Representatives' Democratic and Republican caucuses. Majority Democrats outnumber Republicans on the committee, 3 to 2.
Citing the committee's action earlier this year on legislation that has since made same-sex marriage legal in Delaware, most observers expect that Senate Bill 97 will be released for debate on the House floor.

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