MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The Montgomery County County passed legislation on Tuesday, expanding discrimination protection for the LGBTQ community
The Council passed bill 28-20, also called the LGBTQ bill of rights, which expands the list of people protected from discrimination to include gender expression and a person’s HIV status.
Councilmember Evan Glass spearheaded the bill and said the protections will specifically pertain to the county’s places of public accommodation, which include nursing homes and healthcare facilities.
“There are a lot of civil rights and liberties that are up for grabs right now as we debate the future of the supreme court,” Glass said. “So anything we can do here in Montgomery County and the state of Maryland to ensure the safety and respect of every resident, we’re going to do that.”
Glass said the bill’s specific wording will ensure LGBTQ individuals have full access to healthcare without fear of discrimination.
“There is no place for hate in our healthcare system,” he said.
John Grimes of the Montgomery County pride center said the legislation doesn’t change any rights for any groups, but instead ensures the word of law protects the rights already in place.
“The protections exist. It’s just a question of making sure that there aren’t loopholes for organizations to get through,” Grimes said. “That there aren’t ways that people can game the system in order to discriminate against people.”
Now the bill was introduced in June during national pride month and glass called it serendipitous when when he learned the law was passed shortly before National Coming Out Day on October 11.
The legislation will go into effect within 90 days and it will then be introduced to the Maryland General Assembly in January where it could possibly become state law.