In a perfect world with infinite resources, we – the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender residents of Maryland and our allies – would have both civil marriage for same-sex couples and protections from discrimination based on gender identity.
But, as you know, we do not live in a perfect world. And we do not have infinite resources.
Based on the real world constraints currently facing the LGBT communities, we, the undersigned, believe that any LGBT organization doing legislative work in Maryland should prioritize – over marriage for same-sex couples – the passage of a statewide law to ban discrimination based on gender identity. We prioritize the basic right to be free from unlawful discrimination over the right to marry your spouse. This is not to say that marriage in unimportant – on the contrary, we recognize the importance of marriage and hope to realize the dream of marriage in Maryland in our lifetimes. However, we believe that it is our duty and obligation to ensure that all members of the LGBT communities enjoy the same level playing field – and that means putting anti-discrimination protections first.
We encourage Equality Maryland and its national partners to prioritize anti-discrimination protections based on gender identity over civil marriage. After all, Marylanders can go to the District of Columbia now, get hitched and have their marriage recognized under Maryland law. Individuals who suffer discrimination based on gender identity do not enjoy that same freedom. We owe it to our transgender brothers and sisters to put anti-discrimination protections first.