A former medical resident said his hospital evicted him from married students' housing for living with a same-sex partner.
A former apprentice for a manufacturing company said his performance ratings dipped after he challenged a male supervisor to stop sexually harassing him.
The gay men's testimonials, delivered last night from the podium of a college lecture hall, launched a renewed effort by Gov. Parris N. Glendening on behalf of not-yet-drafted legislation to forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The two men were among nearly a dozen Marylanders who told their stories at the first public hearing of a commission created by the governor in September to collect data on unfair treatment of gays and lesbians. The panel is to make recommendations in time for next year's legislative session on a bill to add homosexuals to the list of minorities protected by Maryland's anti-discrimination law.
The former medical resident who testified is now a family practitioner, and the apprentice eventually started his own business . But both said that they were stung by these incidents of discrimination in their pasts and that they felt powerless because there was no legal recourse.
"This particular example of employment-related discrimination may not be the type of discrimination - heterosexual against homosexual - that I imagine you might find more compelling," said Timothy Hurled, the former apprentice. He said his boss rubbed his back and hovered over him after identifying Hurled as "a young man struggling with issues of sexuality."
Had a strong anti-discrimination bill existed, "My supervisor might never have been compelled to bring to bear upon me the unfortunate behavior that he did," Hurled said.
No matter what shape it takes, the legislation that results from the commission's findings is certain to be debated - a similar bill died in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee two years ago. However, last night's hearing was relatively tame.
One by one, the commission invited volunteers to stand before an audience of about 65 people at the University of Maryland School of Social Work in downtown Baltimore and talk about examples of discrimination in housing, employment or other areas of their lives.
The witnesses were asked in advance to identify themselves either as advocates for or foes of the planned legislation. Sign-up sheets were posted with the words "PROPONENT" or "OPPONENT' in block letters.
An hour into the hearing, no one had volunteered to speak against the measure.
"At a public hearing, you don't really control who you get," said commission chairman Geoffrey L. Greif of the School of Social Work.
He said he wouldn't mind a bit if opponents came forward at later hearings. "The more information you can gather, the better off we all are," Greif said.
Later hearings are scheduled in Salisbury on Tuesday, Hagerstown on Nov. 21, Hughesville on Nov. 28 and College Park on Dec. 5.
"We must value the gay and lesbian members of Maryland's family as we value all embers of our family," the governor said when he created the commission in September.
The issue is of special significance to the governor whose brother, a gay career Air Force employee, died of AIDS.
Anti-discrimination laws exist in some local jurisdictions in Maryland, but there is currently no statewide statute.