“I hope this legislation will help those who have suffered discrimination and give them the chance to live free from fear and intimidation,” said Holder-Winfield, who as vice chair of the Judiciary Committee led the fight for passage of the bill.
The bill, An Act Concerning Discrimination (HB 6599), prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in employment, public accommodations, the sale or rental of housing, the granting of credit, and other laws over which the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities has jurisdiction.
“This legislation is long overdue,” Holder-Winfield said. “In its essence, it prohibits discrimination and offers people protections of their basic rights to use public accommodations.”
The bill defines “gender identity or expression” as a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether that identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or sex at birth.
“People have been singled out for persecution and have even lost their jobs because they are simply different than many of us. Discrimination simply should not be tolerated,” Holder-Winfield said.
The bill makes it a class A misdemeanor to deprive someone of rights, privileges or immunities secured or protected by the state or federal laws or constitutions because of the person's gender identity or expression. This crime is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
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