People For the American Way today urged members of the Colorado and Maryland legislatures to prepare for the 21st century by ensuring that all citizens of their states enjoy full, first-class status.
Colorado legislators are considering House Bill 99-1245, which would amend the state's existing civil rights laws to protect gays and lesbians in such areas as employment, public accommodations and housing. Maryland legislators are considering Senate Bill 138 (and companion House Bill 315), which would amend the state's existing human relations law to include gays and lesbians. The laws in both states already prohibit discrimination based on a host of factors, including race, gender and religion. The proposed amendment would merely add sexual orientation to that list.
In letters sent to key legislators, PFAW President Carole Shields said that "no principled reason" exists to prohibit discrimination on the basis of the existing statutory factors but to allow it based on sexual orientation. The letters were sent to members of the Colorado House Appropriations Committee, Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee and Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
"Whether a person is trying to rent a car, buy a house or get a job, there is no reason to treat anyone differently because of their sexual orientation, just as there is no reason to treat anyone differently because of their race, gender or religious or political affiliation," Shields said. "A new century is dawning. It is time to recognize that every person counts."