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Marylanders Meet To Debate Transgender Rights Bill

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Strengthening human rights for transgender people has ignited a firestorm of protest in Baltimore County. Late Tuesday afternoon, the public had their last chance to influence the council ahead of next week’s vote.

Mike Schuh has more.

Transgender woman Chrissy Polis was beaten at a Rosedale McDonald’s. It’s clear no one—not the people who support this bill or the people who oppose it—want to see a human get beaten because they are transgender.

“This bill is an anti-discrimination bill,” said one councilman.

He is close to giving transgender people more protections, but the road to protecting them has hit a wall. Well, actually a door…a men’s and a women’s. On paper, it’s section D, line 4. The words, “Public Accommodation.” About half of those testifying who passed through the doors of council chambers to testify against the transgender bill don’t want a person who is biologically male but who hasn’t had the gender reassignment surgery allowed into a woman’s bathroom.

“I do not want my grandkids going into the bathroom where there is a man dressed as a woman going into the bathroom,” said Jackie Auburn.

“We’d be forced to allow men to use ladies’ restrooms, women’s locker rooms, women’s gym dressing rooms at department stores, pools, beaches, women’s clubs and so forth,” said Betty Labrun.

But those wanting the protection the bill affords are quick to rebut that.

“This bill is not a bathroom bill,” said Tom Quirk.

“We live, work and play among you and pay our taxes as well as go into fast food bathrooms and have done so for many decades with no untoward consequences toward others,” said Dana Beyer.

Reminded of the Rosedale beating, one speaker used her two minutes to read the names of people killed because of who they are.

But many of those against spoke of religious objections.

“Woe to those who call good evil and evil good,” said Labrun.

Four votes are needed. The bill has four co-sponsors.

The vote on this will happen next Monday at 6 p.m.

Maryland is one of 34 states which offer no special protections for its transgender residents.

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