Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) has announced that he will not veto two pieces of legislation protecting LGBT rights passed by the state legislature in March, meaning they will soon become law.
The Maryland General Assembly passed SB 743 / HB 862 and SB 416 / HB 838 by wide margins and with bipartisan support on March 24, after which both were sent to the Governor’s desk. His office said Friday that he will neither veto nor sign the measures, which will therefore go into effect June 3. The two bills eliminate barriers to updating identity documents for transgender folks born in Maryland and stop insurers from discriminating against women in same-sex relationships who want to access in vitro fertilization and other infertility benefits, respectively.
“We’re really happy,” Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans told the Washington Post. “These are bills that we worked very hard on.” The two pieces of legislation were marked among Equality Maryland’s top priorities this session.
Many states offer new or updated birth certificates for transgender individuals, but requirements related to surgery and other medical steps to transition can often make accurate identity documents inaccessible to poorer folks or transgender people who don’t wish to undergo sex reassignment surgery. Maryland’s new law eliminates barriers like surgery requirements for transgender folks trying to update their information, and also allows for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to re-issue a birth certificate under these circumstances instead of marking an existing document “amended.”
Media Resources: Autostraddle 1/29/14; Washington Post 5/24/15; Free State Legal 3/24/15; Southern Maryland Online 5/15/15