Conn. passes transgender rights bill

Associated Press / June 5, 2011

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HARTFORD — Connecticut has moved closer to adding transgendered people to the list of classes of citizens protected from discrimination.

Early yesterday morning, the Senate passed a gender identity protection bill on a 20-16 vote. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives, and Democratic Governor Dannel P. Malloy said he would sign it into law

“This bill is another step forward in the fight for equal rights for all of Connecticut’s citizens, and it’s the right thing to do,’’ he said in a written statement issued shortly after the vote was taken. “It’s difficult enough for people who are grappling with the issue of their gender identity, and discrimination against them has no place in our society.’’

Senator Beth Bye, a Democrat from West Hartford, said the bill codifies a ruling by the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities that made it illegal to discriminate against transgendered people.

As was the case in last month’s lengthy debate in the House of Representatives, some Republicans raised concerns about restroom usage, whether a man could misuse the transgender law to enter a women’s restroom. The Family Institute, a conservative group that dubbed the legislation “the bathroom bill,’’ has questioned whether sex offenders could misuse the law.

GOP efforts to amend the bill, such as exempting restrooms, locker rooms, and boarding houses from the law, each failed.