Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Court to Weigh Transgender Law

Maryland's highest court has agreed to hear a case involving a referendum on Montgomery County's new transgender rights law.

The Court of Appeals will determine whether voters are asked in November to keep or throw out the law that provides protections for transgender individuals in housing, employment and public accommodations.

The court is expected to rule quickly after the scheduled Sept. 8 arguments because of a Board of Elections deadline to certify the November ballot.

The law was passed unanimously by the County Council and signed by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) last fall.

A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge last month sided with those who are seeking to overturn the law through a referendum because they are concerned that it would allow cross-dressing men, for instance, to use a women's locker room.

-- Ann E. Marimow


Man Dies During Fight in Waldorf

An Oxon Hill man shot and killed an acquaintance Monday night in Waldorf during a fight that stemmed from an "earlier event involving a girl," police said yesterday.

In an arrest warrant, Charles County investigators charged James C. Ford Jr., 20, of Oxon Hill with first-degree murder in the death of Joseph R. Burgess, 21. They said that Ford shot Burgess about 11 p.m. Monday and pistol-whipped another man during a fight in the 3000 block of Heathcote Road in Waldorf.

Investigators obtained the arrest warrant yesterday afternoon but said they had not taken Ford into custody.

Police said Ford approached the two men, who were with others, and argued with the man who was beaten. Police did not release that man's name or details about his injuries yesterday. After that, police said, Ford struggled with Burgess and shots were fired.

-- Matt Zapotosky

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