DOVER, Del. -- The Delaware Legislature today passed the Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Act. The bill adds gender identity to the existing 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. The bill passed in the state House on Tuesday, and was then passed again by the Senate today in order to accept a minor house amendment. The bill now moves to Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat who has been a leader in the fight for transgender protections and will sign the bill.
“The Delaware Legislature sent a clear message today that transgender residents deserve to be treated equally and protected under the law,” HRC president Chad Griffin said. “Delaware advocates and lawmakers are standing up and ensuring that the First State is one which welcomes all people, and provides the same protections and opportunities.”
“Equality Delaware is so grateful for the support and expertise of HRC in helping us pass the Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Act,” Equality Delaware president Lisa Goodman said. “HRC stayed on the ground in Delaware through the entire process and was invaluable in helping us attain these protections for transgender Delawareans.”
In this session of the Delaware Legislature, the Human Rights Campaign has worked closely with Equality Delaware to build both public and legislative support for this legislation. HRC staff have been on the ground in the First State to mobilize Delawareans in support of the bill. HRC thanks Gov. Markell, Majority Whip Senator Margaret Rose Henry, President Pro Tem Senator Patricia Blevins, Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf, House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, and Representative Bryon Short for their leadership on this bill.
When this bill is signed into law, Delaware will become the 17th state, along with the District of Columbia, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. For maps of nondiscrimination laws in the states, please visit HERE.