The Maryland House on Saturday approved a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender people, DC gay weekly Metro Weekly reported.

The measure was approved with a 86 to 52 vote. The bill now moves to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it will be carried by Senator Richard Madaleno, the chamber's only openly gay member, and Senator Jamie Raskin.

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

The gay rights group Equality Maryland has been criticized for supporting a compromise to drop the the bill's public accommodation protections.

The measure's lead sponsor in the House, Delegate Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk, defended her decision to remove the public accommodations.

“I did so because the political reality is I could not have gotten the bill out [of committee],” she said, “look at the discussion here today.”

“You have to forgive me I told them, it's not what you want, it's not perfect, but it gives you protection.”

Republican Delegate Michael McDermott told lawmakers he opposed the bill because transgender people “don't have a compass, they're not sure which direction points up.”

Opposition to such laws in other states has centered around the inclusion of public accommodations.

During debate on a similar bill in Massachusetts, opponents warned that such protections would invite sex offenders to lurk in public restrooms, endangering public safety.

“This is a bill that begins to confuse the gender differences between men and women to the point of trying to allow men to use women's restrooms, and, of course, that means sexual predators going after young children,” Tom Minnery, senior vice president of public policy at Focus on the Family Action, said in a radio message urging North Dakota voters to oppose a transgender protections bill.