Massachusetts Governor Baker Says He’d Sign Transgender Protections Bill

By Adam Polaski • May 31, 2016 • 2:47 pm

Big News! Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, said today that should a bill to extend full non-discrimination protections to transgender people in Massachusetts reach his desk, he would sign it into law. The bill, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate in early May, faces a House vote tomorrow, June 1. It would ensure that transgender people in Massachusetts are protected from discrimination in public spaces – including public parks, theaters, businesses, and restrooms. The governor’s comments today signal a great step forward for the Republican leader, who has grown from opposing these protections (and, in fact, campaigning against them) to embracing them as necessary.

BakerWillSignBaker said today to The Boston Globe:

“We’ve certainly listened to a variety of points of view from many sides and have said, from the beginning, that we don’t want people to be discriminated against. If the House bill were to pass in its current form, yeah, I would sign it.”

Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:

“Governor Baker’s announcement is a tremendous show of support for the transgender community and allies in Massachusetts who have worked for so many years to move him towards support for full transgender equality. His journey is a testament to the importance of transgender visibility, personal stories, and public education. We’re not done yet, but this is a huge step forward and we have tremendous momentum to finish the job. It has been nearly a decade since this bill was first introduced on Beacon Hill, and transgender people have waited long enough. We will do the work until every transgender Bay Stater can live without fear of discrimination.”

Freedom for All Americans is proud to be a founding partner of Freedom Massachusetts and has dedicated Suffredini as a chair to the campaign for the past year. Under Suffredini’s strategy and leadership, Freedom Massachusetts has recruited and secured endorsements from more than 250 businesses, more than 350 clergy and congregations, 11 labor unions representing more than 750,000 families, 16 statewide women’s and victim’s advocacy groups, every major professional sports team in New England, the state’s leading law enforcement associations, the entire MA congressional delegation, the state attorney general, bipartisan leadership in the House and Senate, public endorsements from both the Senate President and the House Speaker, and more. In addition, Freedom for All Americans has contributed to the Freedom Massachusetts coalition in the form of communications outreach, digital strategy, lobbying, and staffing campaign leadership roles.

We applaud Governor Baker’s willingness to understand and learn more about the discrimination transgender people face in Massachusetts, and applaud his commitment to signing the bill.

Governor Baker’s comments reflect the growing bipartisan momentum for transgender equality across the country. Earlier this year, South Dakota’s Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed legislation targeting transgender students, while other Republican Governors in Tennessee and South Dakota have decried similar initiatives.

With unprecedented momentum in both Massachusetts and nationwide—and with a strong majority support across the state—the Massachusetts House should act quickly on June 1 to move this legislation forward to ensure transgender people are at long last fully protected under state law.

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