Frederick County Council discusses anti-discrimination legislation

I-270

The Frederick County Council discussed new legislation to make it unlawful to discriminate based on a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

Council member, Jessica Fitzwater, said two bills are proposed because there are two places in the county code that would have to be changed.  The current code states the Human Relations Department can investigate complaints alleging discrimination to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, physical or mental handicap in housing, public accommodations, and employment. The code does not include gender identity or sexual orientation.

Fitzwater said the county’s Human Relations Commission asked the council to update the code in 2016.

If a resident wanted to file a complaint about gender identity or sexual orientation, the commission would have to direct residents to Baltimore because of the current code.

“These two bills basically just kind of get us up to speed with that the state is already doing and help to make sure that we are really treating all of our residents with respect,” said Fitzwater, who represents District 4.

Fitzwater said she plans to officially introduce the legislation in the upcoming weeks.

Under Maryland law, the General Assembly adopted legislation in 2014 to prohibit discrimination based upon gender identity.

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