The Delaware House on Tuesday approved
a bill which aims to prohibit discrimination against transgender
The measure (Senate Bill 97) would ban
discrimination based on gender identity and expression in the areas
of employment, housing, insurance and public accommodations.
After a roughly 1 hour debate, the bill
cleared the House with a 24-17 vote.
The Senate approved the measure earlier
this month and Democratic Governor Jack Markell has pledged his
However, passage of an amendment
introduced by Democratic Representative Bryon Short means the bill
must first return to the Senate before heading to Markell's desk.
Short's amendment is meant to assuage
the fears of opponents, who warned that the measure would invite sex
offenders to lurk in public restrooms, endangering public safety.
To make its point, the Christian
conservative Delaware Family Policy Council, which is leading the
lobbying effort to kill the bill, released an online video showing a
scruffy-looking man following a young girl into a restroom.
“This bill makes no legal distinction
between someone who is transgender and any other person who claims to
be of the other sex, including predators, exhibitionists, peeping
toms,” said Jordan Warfel of the Family Policy Council.
Short's amendment defines gender
identity as a “consistent and uniform assertion” that is not
“asserted for any improper purpose.”
Sixteen states and the District of
Columbia have approved similar laws protecting transgender people.