Annapolis, Md. On November 13, 2007, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed an act adding gender identity to the county's civil rights law in order to address discrimination against transgender individuals. A group calling itself Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) sought to collect enough signatures on a referendum petition to block the law from going into effect. Lambda Legal, together with counsel retained by Equality Maryland, represented concerned Montgomery County registered voters who opposed CRG's flawed referendum effort to set back the clock on civil rights in Montgomery County. Lambda Legal and Equality Maryland argued that the number of signatures needed to put the referendum petition on the November general election ballot was insufficient and that the Montgomery County Board of Elections over-counted purported signature entries in violation of detailed statutes that safeguard the referendum process.
"This long overdue, crucial law is all about assuring that unchecked bias is not allowed to inhibit our neighbors' abilities to make a living or rent a home, and as a Montgomery County resident, I breathe a sigh of relief that this campaign to roll back anti-discrimination protections is now over," said Dan Furmansky, Executive Director of Equality Maryland. "While we are confident the voters of Montgomery County would have voted against rolling back this law, , it is far better that our transgender brothers and sisters be spared the rhetoric that the referendum proponents have subjected them to over the past year. Equality Maryland thanks Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the law firm of Arnold and Porter, and the many volunteers who came together to assure that our laws in Montgomery County are on par with the 100 other jurisdictions nationally that protect residents from discrimination on the basis of gender identity."
Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel, and Natalie Chin, Staff Attorney, are on the case for Lambda Legal. Jonathan Shurberg, lead attorney for Equality Maryland, argued the case. The case is Doe et al. v. Montgomery County Board of Elections.