Delaware gender identity bill clears final vote

By Randall Chase, Associated Press 5:09pm, June 19, 2013 - Updated 9:03pm, June 19, 2013
Legislative Hall/WDEL File
A bill outlawing discrimination against transgender people in Delaware has cleared its final legislative hurdle.

The Senate voted 11-to-9 Wednesday to approve the bill with a House amendment addressing concerns that sex offenders could take advantage of it to engage in inappropriate behavior.

Governor Markell signed the bill into law shortly after its passage.

The legislation adds gender identity to the list of protected nondiscrimination categories, including race, age, religion and sexual orientation. It also allows for enhanced penalties under Delaware's hate crimes law for targeting someone based on his or her gender identity.

Bill supporters say transgender people are not protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation because they can be straight or gay.

Opponents argued that the bill is unnecessary and will lead to disturbances by men lurking in girls' restrooms and locker rooms, then claiming to be transgender.

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