Being a compendium of three stories with relevance to the transgender people who inhabit the District of Columbia, Maine, Delaware, and the rest of the country.
The JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act has passed through two committees and is on its way to passage by the District of Columbia Council before that body adjourns for the summer.
This coming Wednesday the Maine Supreme Judicial Court will take up the case of Doe v Clenchy, which tests the effectiveness of the Maine Human Rights Act with regard to the rights of transgender people.
And the Delaware Senate has passed the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act, called the "Bathroom Bill" by its detractors. The bill now moves on to consideration in the Delaware House. The governor has given his full support to the bill.
The DC Council is likely to approve the JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act.
Under current DC law people who have their names legally changed are required to publish their notices in a local newspaper once a week for three weeks. This, of course, is requiring transgender people to out themselves to the entire community. It is also the case that current law only allows people who have undergone sex reassignment surgery to have the gender marker on their birth certificate changed.
The Committee on Health and the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety approved the aforementioned bill which will allow transpeople to avoid that step. Instead people who go through gender reassignment will have their birth certificates sealed and will be issued a new certificate with the proper gender marker if provided a sealed affidavit from a medical doctor, which will also be sealed. The bill will include people who do not undergo surgical sex reassignment procedures.
The bill in co-sponsored by 12 members of the full Council, so is unlikely to face opposition from here forward.
There is video at this link.
On Wednesday the Maine Supreme Judicial Court will consider the appeal of the ruling in the case known as Doe v Clenchy. That is the case of Nicole Maines and her family against the Orono School District. Maines is a transgirl who was forced to stop using the girls bathroom at Asa Adams Elementary School and told to use a staff bathroom after the grandfather of a male classmate complained about her using the girls restroom.
The Maine Human Rights Commission ruled in Maines's favor. That lead to the Nicole's parents and the Human Rights Commission filing suit agains the Orono School District, which is now Riverside RSU 26 and Superintendent Kelly Clenchy. Justice William Anderson ruled in favor of the school district last November.
In this case, the school acted within the bounds of its authority in prohibiting [the girl] from using the girls’ restroom; it did not itself harass [the girl] by its actions, and it was not deliberately indifferent to the harassment that [she] experienced from others.Both the Maines family (identified as the Doe family in filings) and the Maine Human Rights Commission have filed appeals.
The court finds that there is no evidence of deliberate indifference with respect to plaintiff’s claims of education discrimination, and it finds that defendants acted within the law under the public accommodation discrimination claim. Therefore, the court grants summary judgment to [the school district].
The appeals ask the Court to decide the following:
— Does the exclusion of a transgender girl from a school’s communal girls’ restroom violate the Maine Human Rights Act because it prohibits a school from treating a transgender girl differently from all other girls?
— Does a school engage in unlawful segregation in violation of the MHRA when it denies a transgender girl access to the communal-use restroom and forces her to use a staff restroom?
The Does also are asking the court to decide which section of the MHRA prevails in Susan Doe’s situation — the provisions concerning gender identity or those regarding sex-designated restrooms in schools.
When the school excluded Susan from the girls’ restroom, they understood the impossibility of her using the only other bathroom available to other students. This is certainly direct segregation, but at the very least must qualify as [the] indirect segregation that the Legislature intended to outlaw.
--Bennett H. Klein, attorney for GLAD, representing the Doe family
In short, the language of the MHRA, the requirements of the statute, the MHRC’s own regulations, and persuasive case law all compel the conclusion that a school’s segregation of bathrooms on the basis of sex rather than gender identity does not constitute illegal discrimination under the Maine Human Rights Act.
--Melissa Hewey, representing the school district
In the case of sex discrimination, the prejudices and stereotypes that the MHRA is concerned with are directed at women based on their status as women, which is usually determined by identity and perception, not biology. A company that refused to hire a woman as its president because she is female does not check her chromosomes first.Amici Curiae have been filed by the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Maine Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers-Maine Chapter, Trans Youth Equality Foundation, the Maine Women’s Lobby and the Downeast and Southern Maine chapters of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, all in favor of the Does.
In the context of bathrooms, the meaning of the term ‘sex’ should be no different. Women and men of the same gender share a common identity. The reasons for separating bathrooms evaporate in light of that commonality.
--John Gause, representing the Maine Human Rights Association
The Delaware Senate passed SB 97, the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act, by a vote of 11-7 last Thursday. The bill was introduced by Senate Majority whip Margaret Rose Henry (D-WIlmington) and bans anti-transgender discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, and insurance.
Voting for the bill along with Henry were Blevins (D-Elsmere), Cloutier (R-Heatherbrooke), Hall-Long (D-Middletown), Marshall (D-Wilmington), McBride (D-Hawk's Nest), McDowell (D-Wilmington), Peterson (D-Stanton), Poore (D-New Castle), Sokola (D-Newark), and Townsend (D-Newark). Voting against were Bonini (R-Dover), Ennis (D-Smyrna), Hocker (R-Ocean View), Lawso (R-Marydel), Lopez (R-Lewes), Simpson (R-Milford), and Venables (D-Laurel). Bushweiler (D-Dover) and Lavelle (R-Sharpley) abstained. Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown) was absent.
This bill lets people know that Delaware will welcome you and that, in keeping with our highest ideals as Americans, we will not tolerate discrimination or violence against a person based on their race, color, religion, sexual orientation or now based on their perceived gender.
--Margaret Rose Henry
We are so proud of the 11 senators who voted today to make Delaware a fair and welcoming place for transgender Delawareans.
--Lisa Goodman, Equality Delaware
We’re very focused in Delaware on making sure the law does not discriminate. We’re a very welcoming state and we want people who want to build a good life here.
--Governor Jack Markell
We are confident that our House will pass the bill, and Gov. Markell is ready to sign it.The Delaware House of Representatives currently consists of 26 Democrats and 15 Republicans.
Delaware would become the 17th state to offer protections against discrimination based on perceived gender.
Reverend Mike Fox, pastor of The Trek Church and certified marriage coach, is calling SB 97 "one of the most dangerous bills not only to us as Christians, but to our children and women abroad."
It falls like all immoral bills under the umbrella of 'Anti-Discrimination' laws. This puts our children, especially girls and women in direct harm's way of Predators, Pedophiles and Perverts – now backed up by the State of Delaware!
The only change that will happen if this law is passed is that transgender people will be treated fairly in Delaware. There’s no other effect of this bill and to say that is offensive, and frankly, untrue.
--Sarah McBride, Equality Delaware
We have allowed, as the Church, our silence to be the acceptance of a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, fully funded by and backed up by our Court system.
If we as Christians do not get a full-scale 'moral revolution' then we literally are the ones to bring on the end-time persecution. So many of us are so comfy and complacent in our lives, we are oblivious to the extreme danger we are in – right now, not the future.