Last Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation hailed the Massachusetts State Senate’s vote extending common sense non-discrimination protections to the state’s transgender residents and visitors. While Massachusetts state law already prohibits anti-transgender discrimination in housing and employment, the new legislation will extend the same crucial protections to public accommodations.
Following expected approval by the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the bill will head to the desk of Republican Governor Charlie Baker who has not indicated whether he will sign the bill. In recent weeks Baker has made positive statements in support non-discrimination laws for the transgender community.
“We commend the Massachusetts Senate under the leadership of Senate President Stan Rosenberg for choosing to lead by embracing acceptance, respect and dignity for all at this pivotal moment for transgender equality in America,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “While North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has legislated hate by signing the vile HB 2 into law, governors from Georgia and South Dakota have joined the growing list of fair-minded Republicans standing up for fairness and equality. Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans– on both sides of the aisle– know that discriminating against the LGBT community is wholly unacceptable.”
“We look forward to continued equality momentum in Massachusetts with a positive vote in the House, and we urge Governor Baker to sign this vitally important measure into law when it reaches to his desk,” Winterhof said.
If Baker signs the bill, Massachusetts will join 18 other states and more than 100 cities that have explicit non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, housing and employment.
The bill has overwhelming support throughout the state and the region. Several New England professional sports teams and Massachusetts education groups have endorsed it, along with U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, and the Boston Globe’s editorial board.
HRC is a proud member of the Freedom Massachusetts campaign, mobilising our in-state members, as well as donating staff and other resources to the effort over the last year.