Critics Claim Anti-Discrimination Bill Could Enable Predators
Updated: Tuesday, April 29 2014, 08:05 PM EDT
The Fairness for All Marylanders Act 2014 was designed to fight discrimination, but the wording of the document is generating concerns from critics. After passing through Maryland's legislature the act is being referred to by some as "The Bathroom Bill."
The unusual name derives from critics who say that since the bill prohibits discrimination in public accommodations that it could allow predators into restrooms of the opposite gender.
Delegate Kathy Afzali says the bill is "a Pandora's Box of legal liability."
"So you have a men's room and ladies room in your restaurant now you are in a quagmire either you put in a unisex bathroom or face lawsuits," Afzali said. "That is expensive to a small business."
Delegate Afzali's other argument is a little more personal as a mother of two daughters who like to swim. She says the vocabulary used in the bill would allow anyone to change from one sex to the other as they whenever they see fit.
"We certainly don't hate and certainly want to give everyone their fair shot but there's a difference between fair shot and udder ridiculous and this falls into utter ridiculous," Afzali says.
But Keith Thirion of Equality Maryland says the bill simply, "updates Maryland's antidiscrimination laws to include gender identity so it includes transgender people," and does not agree with the Delegate's concerns.
"This bill will not create sexual predators," Thirion says. "A man that puts a dress on is not covered....flat out not covered by definition…and illegal acts will remain illegal."
And the bill is personal to Thirion as well.
"I am a transgender man," Thirion said. "I was born a girl but lived the last 8 years as the man I knew I was before coming to terms with knowing myself as a man."
As far as the interpretation of the bill the attorney general's office told FOX45, "The OAG has not been asked to opine on this bill and we haven't."
The bill takes effect in Maryland on October 1.