The US state of Maryland is set to discuss bills banning gay conversion therapies and transgender discrimination this week.
If passed, the anti-'gay cure' bill introduced by state delegate Jon Cardin will follow legislation from New Jersey and California banning gay-to-straight conversion therapies used on minors.
Cardin, speaking to the Washington Blade, said: ‘There are numerous gay conversion therapy providers as well as organizations like the infamous International Healing Foundation located right here in Maryland advocating for what I consider very harmful conversion therapies.’
The second proposed bill, introduced by gay Senator Rich Madaleno, seeks to ban transgender discrimination statewide. Similar bills were introduced but voted down in 2011 and 2013.
State Delegate Heather Mizeur, criticized the long wait for transgender rights, saying: ‘No one should face discrimination on the basis of gender identity — equality in Maryland shouldn’t have to wait this long.
‘I will be a vocal advocate for these important protections to ensure that all Marylanders are treated the same way in their jobs, housing and public accommodations.’
Joining Maine and Washington as the first states to introduce same-sex marriage by popular vote, Maryland senators and LGBT activists are keen for the state to uphold its progressive image.