The Maryland Court of Appeals today threw out a ballot petition to re-legalize discrimination against the transgender residents of Montgomery County. The antigay group, Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum and its offshoot Citizens for a Responsible Government, obtained substantial publicity and petition support from Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and its co-founder, the Family Research Council. The antigay campaign suffered from reports of misconduct among uncivil and misinformed canvassers who deceived petition signers about the petition.

Local parents and educators who oppose discrimination cheered the court ruling. Jim Kennedy of Teach the Facts said:

…The appeals court threw out a referendum to relegalize gender identity discrimination in Montgomery County, Maryland, after the County Council unanimously passed the law, the County Executive happily signed it, and a small gang of bigots used lies and misrepresentation to get people to sign petitions against it.

Lambda Legal provides background:

On November 13, 2007, in order to address discrimination against transgender individuals, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed an act that added gender identity to the county’s civil rights law. A group calling itself Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) sought to block the law by gathering signatures for a referendum petition. We challenged the referendum because the Montgomery County Board of Election overcounted the signatures in violation of the rules governing the process, and Maryland’s highest court ruled in our favor.

“This long overdue, crucial law is all about assuring that unchecked bias is not allowed to inhibit our neighbors’ abilities to make a living or rent a home, and as a Montgomery County resident, I breathe a sigh of relief that this campaign to roll back anti-discrimination protections is now over,” said Dan Furmansky, Executive Director of Equality Maryland.

PFOX offered no immediate reaction to the ruling; its own role in the antigay campaign included misinformation about gender identity issues and racial rhetoric, while a local ally of PFOX resorted to anti-Semitism and death threats.