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This is not legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney admitted to practice law in your jurisdiction after hearing all of the facts and circumstances in a particular case.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

News: VT bill vetoed

Governor James Douglas vetoed the gender identity bill on Wednesday. He noted that the definition of "gender identity and expression" in the bill "is ambiguous and potentially more far-reaching . . . and raises many questions with regards to its breadth, its implementation and its enforcement."

Steve Cable of Vermont Renewal, a Rutland-based organization that served as the legislation's primary foe, said "This bill has the potential of creating an environment of 'affirmative action' for cross-dressers and transvestites, which is a concept we vehemently oppose."

The governor suggested the bill needs to be reworked, and pointed to the state's Human Rights Commission's vote Wednesday calling for further study of the legislation. "It would be inappropriate and unfair to every employer, landlord, provider of public accommodation, lender and school to put a law on the books that creates new obligations and liabilities while many who would advise them are struggling with the bill's terms and scope," he said.

I've looked at the text of the Vermont bill as posted on the Vermont Legislature's website, and its scope is the same as Vermont's existing anti-discrimination law, as the bill does nothing more than add "gender identity or expression" to the list of "race, color, creed," etc. However, I searched in vain for the definition of "gender identity or expression" always found in such bills. This definition is important, and I've discussed in a previous post. Perhaps I was looking at the wrong text, because I can't imagine why it wasn't in the bill. If there is, indeed, no definition, the Governor has a point.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The link to the bill text that you gave is incorrect. You linked to the bill text as originally proposed (H.0478); the text of the bill as passed by the House and Senate (renamed H.0865) is found at the following address:

http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/legdoc.cfm?URL=/docs/2006/bills/passed/H-865.HTM

The definition of the term "gender identity or expression" is found at the beginning of the bill in Section 1.