MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. – A “transgender” who as an assistant to a county council member here lobbied for “rights” for alternative sexual lifestyles now is using the law that officials ultimately adopted to seek $5 million as a “victim” of “adverse discriminatory and retaliatory” actions.
Dana Beyer, who is under an ethics commission investigation, has filed an action in Montgomery County Circuit Court seeking $5 million in damages for what the lawsuit alleges is unfair treatment because of being a transgendered person.
The lawsuit has been brought against both Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Ethics Commission.
Beyer is a policy adviser to Montgomery County Council member Duchy Trachtenberg, a key member of the council who helped pass unanimously a controversial amendment in 2007 that changed Montgomery County’s civil-rights laws to include equal rights for “transgendered persons.”
The ethics complaint was generated by Maryland Citizens for Responsible Government, which had opposed the council’s action. The complaint stemmed from an incident in which organization members were collecting petition signatures.
Beyer’s approach to the organization members was caught on video:
The county’s policies now include a statement regarding gender that reads: “Gender identity means an individual’s actual or perceived gender including a person’s gender-related appearance, expression, image, identity or behavior, whether or not those gender-related characteristics differ from the characteristics customarily associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.”
The amended laws initiated a backlash of sorts because they allowed individuals with alleged “identity issues” the choice of whether to use men’s or women’s public facilities such as lockers and bathrooms, regardless of their gender. That means a woman who thinks she’s a man could use the men’s public restroom and vice versa.
It was in February 2008 when Maryland Citizens initiated its petition drive to place the new amended laws on the ballot for a public vote. On Oct. 7, 2008, the organization filed a complaint against Beyer with the ethics commission alleging Beyer interfered with the process of collecting signatures.
Beyer’s discrimination lawsuit asserts that the county attorney found no evidence of wrongdoing, but Beyer received what is referred to as a “reasonable-cause finding.” A reasonable-cause finding means that Beyer may have engaged in conduct that violated county ethics laws, which prohibit a public employee from “intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any person for the purpose of interfering with that person’s freedom to engage in political activity.” Beyer’s suit dismisses the claim on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
However, Maryland Citizens attorney John Garza said both Beyer and Trachtenberg “are claiming through legislative privilege that they don’t have to answer questions that the ethics commission put before them.”
Garza also added that he had not heard of the privilege being used before.
Garza also said it is not coincidental the very law that Beyer helped pass in 2007 is the law being used to sue both Montgomery County and its ethics commission.
The Montgomery County laws now governing the rights of transgendered individuals were passed unanimously by the Montgomery County council. They were never brought before the public for a vote. About 900,000 people live in Montgomery County, where the laws have been in full force since the fall of 2007.
The petition drive to put the issue before voters fell short when Maryland’s highest court allowed officials to raise the required number of petition signatures for a ballot issue – after the deadline for submitting names had passed – from 25,001 to 27,001.
The opinion from the state Court of Appeals overturned a decision by a judge who found voters should be allowed to determine the future of the “discrimination” ban.
Circuit Judge Robert A. Greenberg concluded Bill 23-07, approved by the county board and signed into law by county executive Isiah Leggett, should be on the ballot for voters, despite the wishes of Equality Maryland, an activist group for homosexuals, which did not want voters to have their say.
The court ruled the Board of Elections should have included ‘inactive voters’ when calculating the number of signatures that were required to place the issue on the ballot. Months after the deadline for turning in signatures, the court increased the number of valid signatures required from 25,001 signatures to over 27,000,“ Maryland Citizens said.