[TFF Lobbyist] “We found that there are a number of things in [the bill] that really don’t provide protections for religious entities in particular – churches, and so forth. There are some exemptions in the bill, but they are pretty narrow.
As for the punitive damages, there is no limit on the punitive or compensatory damages. There’s also an award of attorney’s costs and fees – only to the Plaintiff if they prevail, but not to the Defendant. In addition, there are fines that are pretty hefty. In totality, this makes it a Plaintiff attorney’s DREAM, to go suing everyone and everything.” [cut off at this point]
[Delegate Simon on the Committee] “I’ve actually looked at the [unlimited punitive damages] language…and I think it’s actually doing exactly what we intended for it to do. If you don’t want to be subject to unlimited punitive damages, don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
I mean, this wasn’t meant to be a non-punitive bill. We created a private right of action for a reason. And so I think that the bill accomplishes exactly what it’s intended to do in the form that it’s intended to do it. And so, at this point, I would move that we report the bill.” (To which all the other Democrats “seconded” in unison and voted to pass the bill.)
And we shouldn’t be surprised, either. After all, that was from the same Delegate who, just two years ago, when speaking in favor of a similar bill and responding to similar SOGI concerns of religious groups and universities, said: "There are certain sincerely held religious beliefs which are so discriminatory that we don't give them the protection of the law, and this is one of those cases."