Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley said Tuesday that he backs passage of a transgender protections bill, the Baltimore Sun reported.

“I support it wholeheartedly,” O'Malley told reporters after a morning press conference in which he discussed his support for a gay marriage bill.

“I do support it. It won't be a part of the legislative package, there are only a few things in the legislative package,” he added.

If approved, the measure would ban discrimination based on gender identity in the areas of employment, housing and credit.

During last year's legislative session, the measure fizzled in the Senate after passage in the House of Delegates.

Several transgender activists last year refused to back the bill after its lead sponsor, Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, submitted a last-minute alteration to the bill's language that stripped it of its protections for public accommodations, generally the most controversial provisions of such laws.

Whether this year's bill will include the extra protections remains to be seen.

Testifying before lawmakers, opponents argued that such a law would hurt children.

“Children will then have to defend their birth femininity or masculinity and they will be discriminated against if they attempt to be the boy or the girl they were born to be,” one opponent said.