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Transgender Rights Battles Heat up in March

Legislative updates from North Carolina, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Michigan, Delaware, Kansas and Minnesota

The fight for transgender rights has taken center stage in March 2016. Here are the latest updates from 7 states in the United States.

NORTH CAROLINA – The state legislature invalidated a recent Charlotte City Councilordinance that protected the rights of transgender citizens. The ordinance had added sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status as attributes protected from discrimination. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed the legislation Wednesday night. “The General Assembly is on the wrong side of progress. It is on the wrong side of history,” said Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts. The new law forces schools, public college campuses and government agencies to require bathrooms or locker rooms be designated for use only by people based on their assigned gender at birth. All Democrats walked out of the Senate chamber in protest when the bill was passed. North Caroline now risks billions of dollars in federal aid due to the law.

“THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS ON THE WRONG SIDE OF PROGRESS. IT IS ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY,”

Watch the report by WRAL:

General Assembly overturns Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance :: WRAL.com

TENNESSEE – House Bill 2414 was put on hold for a summer study. The proposed bill would require students to use restrooms according to their birth certificates. The proposal has already cleared the state senate (SB 2387). The bills are sponsored by Representative Susan Lynn, R-Old Hickory, and State Senator Mike Bell, R-Riceville. Lynn has been on record as calling the bill “friendly”. If the bill passes, transgender students will have to use restrooms that are not congruent with their gender identity in both schools and public facilities. Republican Governor Bill Haslam has expressed concern that the state would lose federal funding if the bill is passed.

MICHIGAN – According to The Detroit News , the Michigan Department of Education is facing backlash from the Republican party in the state’s House appropriations subcommittee after scheduling a draft recommendation to adopt transgender-friendly policies on May 10th. The committee stripped all travel and per-diem funding for the Democrat-dominated State Board of Education from Michigan’s budget.

MASSACHUSETTS – Attorney General Maura Healey is pressing to get a bill that would amend a 2011 anti-discrimination law to include the term “gender Identity”. The amendment has the support of sports teams – The New England Patriots, The Boston Red Sox, the Celtics and the Bruins. Massachusetts Senator Elizah Warren, Caitlin Jenner, Patrice Bergeron and Abby Wambach al produced videos showing their support for passage.

DELAWARE – The State of Delaware banned insurance companies from limiting or excluding health care coverage for transgender citizens. They became the 15th state in the US to do so. Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart issued the bulletin on Wednesday which states,“any blanket policy exclusion for gender dysphoria, gender identity disorder, medically necessary surgeries or other treatments related to gender transition or related services is a violation of the Unfair Trade Practices Act” as found in Title 18, Section 2304 of the Delaware Code.

KANSAS – Kansas law makers have proposed House bill 2737 and Senate bill 513. These bills would force transgender students to use bathrooms, locker rooms and showers according to their assigned sex at birth. The House bill has a provision that would award people $2,500 in damages if they are “aggrieved” by seeing a transgender person in one of these facilities. The Republican controlled House and Senate members claim the bills will protect students, however it does not appear to protect transgender students. The language in the bills define gender as being “determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.” They come with just two weeks left in session and are most likely not be heard at this time.

MINNESOTA – WCCO in Minneapolis reports lawmakers unveiled a bill Wednesday banning transgender people from using bathrooms different from their biological sex. The proposed bill will define male and female as that which is assigned at birth,“I’m just appalled,” Dayton said. “This is about pandering to their extreme base. Democratic Governor Mark Dayton promises to veto any discriminatory bill that reaches his desk. Their rabid base is homophobic, and they wrap themselves in the Bible to pretend that there’s justification for it. But the Bible says love thy neighbor as thyself.” The bill, House File 3396, has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

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