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Balto Co Transgender Bill: Faulty testimony of legal counsel

At Tuesday’s public input hearing on the controversial “Transgender Bill” currently being considered by the Baltimore County Council, Councilman Marks posed a series of questions to Tom Peddicord, the council’s legal counsel.

Bill opposition: meet undercarriage of bus.

I have transcribed the questions and replies below. I add my commentary in Bold.

The final vote on this dangerous bill will be next Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 6pm. For more information on how to help defeat this bill, go to the opposition’s website here. See my previous articles on the subject here.


David Marks: The American Family Association claims that churches, daycare centers and schools could be forced to hire transsexuals and add sensitivity training or face discrimination lawsuits. Mr. Peddicord, can you just verify for us, does this bill have any influence over curriculum changes?

Tom Peddicord: None whatsoever, councilman. The Board of Education is exempt from this law. Always has been. The law isn’t changed by this bill. There is absolutely no impact on curriculum.

The Board of Education, County Council (interesting), and community colleges are only exempt from the Public Accommodations portion. The Board of Education is not the same entity as the public school system, or any individual school within. Of course the bill does not mandate curriculum changes – it opens the door to them.

How about posing this question instead, Mr. Marks: Does the language of the bill or existing law prevent the discrimination argument from being used to force curriculum changes? If so, please point me to that language.

DM: One of the other things that I’m particularly sensitive to is the impact on the Boy Scouts of America and groups like that. The email says that a similar gender identity bill was rejected by the General Assembly last year when it realized that the Boy Scouts would be forced to hire crossdressing women as scout leaders. Does this bill in any way hold an organization like Boy Scouts of America to identify who it chooses to admit as leaders in an organization like that?

TP: No sir, absolutely not.

Similarly, does the bill prevent the discrimination argument from being used to force the BSA or other organizations to hire transgenders? If so, please point me to that language.

DM: Regarding the schools issue, the bill doesn’t cover the school system and it doesn’t cover the community colleges, basically what we are saying is that under this bill the access would be to a private training school, correct – Lincoln Tech, a place like that?

TP: If what you are asking is what is the scope of the bill when it comes to alleged discrimination and employment, yes a private institution must be aware that it is not lawful to discriminate in hiring someone on the basis of race, creed, color, etc. and if this bill is enacted and signed into law, it would add the sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to those protected classes. So, yes, a private institution must be aware of its duty under this county law to not discriminate in employment.

Translation: Schools can be sued for discrimination in hiring practices under this bill. Note that Mr. Peddicord really did not answer the question as to what schools would be affected nor correct Mr. Marks erroneous misunderstanding of the bill, but just merely stated that private schools would be affected.

Better questions:

Mr. Peddicord, you stated that private educational institutions would be subject to allegations of discrimination in its hiring practices regarding transgenders and homosexuals under this law. Would public schools also be subject to those allegations as well under this law? If not, please point me to the language in the bill that would prevent that.

Would it be possible under this bill for a transgender boy to sue the public school system if he is not granted access to the girls restrooms and locker rooms? If not, please point me to the language in the bill that would prevent that.

CONCLUSION: The education issue can be resolved to the satisfaction of both sides simply by adding the following definition and parameter:

“The Education requirement is intended and shall be limited to ensuring equal rights and equal access to an education for all protected groups. It shall not be construed to expand to any reach into what shall be taught, how it shall be taught, or by whom it shall be taught.”

Info on contacting the councilmembers can be found at the website here.

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