Bloem v. Montgomery County Board of Elections
In September 2008, the Maryland Court of Appeals invalidated the Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) referendum petition in Doe v. Montgomery County Board of Elections. The referendum attempted to block a duly enacted transgender nondiscrimination law from going into effect. Lambda Legal successfully represented plaintiffs in Doe; the court found that the CRG petition failed to strictly comply with the laws that govern the right to bring a law to referendum, resulting in the enforcement of the nondiscrimination law. Shortly after our victory, proponents of the CRG petition initiated Bloem in an effort to get the referendum on the next general election ballot. Plaintiffs are attempting to stay the enforcement of the nondiscrimination law until this case is resolved, as well as submit additional petition signatures for verification. Lambda Legal has joined in this lawsuit as defendant interveners to represent seven former Doe plaintiffs and Equality Maryland.
Transgender people suffer persistent inequalities in all aspects of life. While a growing number of cities, counties and employers prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression, transgender people remain disproportionately vulnerable to discrimination because of widespread misunderstanding and misconceptions about them.
Lambda Legal's Impact
The referendum process has been used historically by opponents of LGBT legal protections in an effort to take away equal rights. Winning Bloem would ensure that the Maryland Court of Appeals decision in Doe is preserved, safeguarding resulting protections against attacks by referendum proponents who wish to circumvent the law.
Montgomery County Board of Elections, Montgomery County
Natalie Chin, Susan Sommer