The Delaware House on Tuesday will vote
on a bill aimed at prohibiting 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.
According to gay weekly The
Washington Blade, the bill cleared the House Administration
Committee on Wednesday with a 4-1 vote.
The Senate approved the measure last
week and Democratic Governor Jack Markell has pledged his signature.
“We are very pleased that the bill is
out of committee with a bi-partisan vote,” Equality Delaware
President Lisa Goodman said. “On to the House floor, where we look
forward to passage.”
Opponents of the bill have warned that
it would invite sex offenders to lurk in public restrooms,
endangering public safety.
“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,” Jordan Warfel of the Christian conservative Delaware Family
Policy Council, which is leading the lobbying effort to kill the
bill, said during the bill's Senate committee hearing.
Proponents dismissed the claim, calling
“We do not have one known case, one
reported case, of a transgender individual attacking a child,” said
Deputy Attorney General Patricia Dailey Lewis, director of the
Department of Justice's family law section.
Sixteen states and the District of
Columbia have approved similar laws protecting transgender people.