Maryland’s Human Relations laws protect certain classes of people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on the person’s race, sex, creed, color, ancestry and national origin, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, or disability.
Some counties have added additional protected classes on top of those. Howard County has genetic testing, physical and/or mental incapacity, occupation, political opinion, personal appearance, and source of income. Montgomery County has thrown in genetic status. Prince George’s County has a cocktail including occupation, political opinion, personal appearance, and mental or physical handicap.
While these demographic classifications apply to all categories within the classification by law (both Male and Female and Other categories under the Sex classification), by practice and application they do not. The law is intended to protect only a minority subset of each demographic category, such as only minority races and not whites in that classification.
The cumulative affect of all these protections is the creation of a small minority of those left unprotected. When you leave unprotected the white males under age 65, and subtract those who are not Christian or unreligious, natural born, married, straight and gender lucid, non-disabled and having an in-tact family, the remaining unprotected individuals constitute a mere 9.8% minority of our state population (or less since I don’t have data on familial status). Lower still in counties with additional protections. This is a smaller minority of The Unprotected than most of the minorities that are protected by the law. They just don’t have a name.
Women aren’t a minority at all, making up 51.5% of Maryland’s population, according to U.S. Census data. Blacks are 30%, Asian or mixed race are 9%, and even Hispanics are 8% (according to 2013 statistics, so certainly higher by now). Widowed, divorced, or unmarried make up 42% of the population. Those over 65 years of age are protected, at a population percentage of 13.4%. The foreign born minority of 14% receives protection, but not our shrinking minority of The Unprotected. Even the disabled has a higher percentage at 12.7% (higher for whites).
It is obvious to see the trend here. So where is this going and when will it end? If an employer hires a gay white man over a straight black woman who then sues on the basis of racial discrimination, which protected class will trump the other? The law does not address how to handle conflicting protected classes. Will it be necessary for our legislators to prioritize protected classes like a pecking order? It could go to auction for campaign donations and lobbying power. How can this result in anything but rendering the Human Relations law meaningless, or worse yet, a tool of political corruption?