BALTIMORE, Maryland, April 13, 2011 ( – Maryland Senators today voted to quash a bill that would have added ‘transgender’ as a protected class when it comes to employment, credit, and housing discrimination.

The bill, called “Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act,” had been much-debated, even among gay rights activists, with some calling Senate members “discriminatory” for seemingly delaying its passage and others crying for its rejection, saying the bill did not go far enough in protection.

Sponsored by Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, the bill passed the House previously in an 86-52 vote, but bounced around in Senate committees until supporters worried no action would be possible. 

Senate President Thomas Mike Miller, who is opposed to same-sex “marriage” legislation, was accused of breaking protocol and delaying the bill by sending it to the Rules Committee rather than a committee that would scrutinize the legislation and quickly send it to the Senate floor for a vote.

The bill came up for a vote this week, but on the last day of the legislative sessions when Senators were reluctant to debate the controversial measure; they voted to quash it.

“The Senate’s treatment of this legislation will be remembered for a long time by the LGBT community and Marylanders who believe in equal rights for all,” Senator Richard S. Madaleno Jr., the sole openly gay member of the chamber, wrote.  He has vowed to file the legislation again next year.