By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland takes another step in equality with the passage of an anti-discrimination bill aimed at protecting transgendered people.

Pat Warren has more on reaction to the bill.

The bill protects transgendered people from discrimination in the workplace and in public accommodations.

Final passage of a bill to protect transgendered people is the result of a long-fought effort to end discrimination.

“This is about discrimination. This is really about whether people can live their lives, have jobs and live in their apartments and go to restaurants with their friends,” said Carrie Evans, Equality Maryland. “And they, the opponents, on the floor yesterday, it was all about bathrooms and all about that which is just a tiny, tiny component of this bill.”

Some delegates, Democrats included, thought the bill should not have included public restrooms.

“We all believe in rights, but the right for someone to swing their fist ends where someone else’s nose begins,” said Del. Neil Parrot. “And unfortunately, the right to Marylanders to have privacy in the bathroom, where they know when they send their child to the girl’s room, only girls will be in there. This bill actually overturned that.”

“We want transgender people to be able to use the bathrooms that match how they are presenting and who they are,” Evans said.

Maryland Petitions is asking people for their thoughts to determine if it will petition the law to referendum, but the bill’s supporters are confident that they will prevail.

“Just as in 2012, we have confidence in Maryland voters,” said Evans.

Marylanders upheld same-sex marriage in 2012, despite an effort by opponents to repeal it. Equality Maryland is looking forward to Governor O’Malley signing the transgender rights bill this year.

“At lobby day, at the rally he said, ‘Okay, I’m waiting for this on my desk,'” Evans said.

There are 17 other states that have similar laws.

Also Friday, a bill requiring drivers to move over for tow trucks on the side of the road received final passage. The session ends April 7.

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