Maryland transgender anti-discrimination law to go to voters in November

[JURIST] A Maryland judge Thursday rejected a challenge seeking to remove a referendum on a transgender anti-discrimination law [Bill 23-07 text] from the November ballot. Circuit Court Judge Robert A. Greenberg ruled that the Montgomery County Board of Elections [official website] had miscalculated the number of signatures [Washington Post report] that proponents [Maryland Citizens for Responsible Government website] needed to gather before the referendum could be certified. However, Greenberg also found that the challenge filed by transgender rights advocates Equality Maryland [advocacy website; press release] had missed the filing deadline to have the initiative removed from the ballot. The County Council unanimously approved the measure last year, and it was subsequently signed into law by County Executive Isiah Leggett [official websites]. AP has more. The Washington Post has local coverage.

Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court rejected [conference actions list, PDF; JURIST report] without comment a challenge [petition, PDF] seeking to remove a November ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage in that state. The petition, filed by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy websites], argued that the amendment would deprive same-sex couples of fundamental rights. If approved by voters, the California Marriage Protection Act [ballot materials, PDF; proposition website] would amend the state constitution [text] to read, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." That ballot initiative comes in reaction to a May 15 California Supreme Court decision [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] overturning a ban on same-sex marriage in the state. In May, the California Office of Vital Records [official website] issued a memorandum [JURIST report] setting June 17 as the start day for issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court's May 15 decision stemmed from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's 2004 decision to issue marriage licenses to 4,000 same-sex couples [JURIST report].

 

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