Question Seeking to Repeal #TransLawMA Qualifies for 2018 Ballot

By Adam Polaski • October 11, 2016 • 5:30 pm
Troubling news today out of Massachusetts: Efforts to protect hard-won non-discrimination protections for transgender Bay Staters entered a new phase, as state officials confirmed that opponents of transgender equality have succeeded in collecting the minimum number of signatures required to put #TransLawMA up for a public vote in November 2018. The law, passed by an overwhelming number of legislators after unprecedented public support and support from throughout the state, took effect on October 1.

Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin announced this afternoon that opponents of transgender equality have collected sufficient signatures to qualify support the proposed initiative for the ballot. That means a question requiring voters to affirm or repeal the law will appear on the 2018 general election ballot.

Massachusetts has an extremely low threshold to qualify for the ballot. Potential initiatives need signatures from less than 1% of voters, a minimum requirement that even extremists like those seeking to repeal #TransLawMA can often satisfy.

But although they succeeded in meeting the signature requirement to put this question in front of voters, Freedom for All Americans is confident that these mean-spirited attempts to repeal #TransLawMA’s protections will fail at the ballot box. This year, an overwhelming, bipartisan coalition—including businesses, municipal leaders, and grassroots advocates—worked to pass transgender protections through the legislature.

Knowing this, we’re confident that fair-minded Bay Staters will vote to affirm the right of everyone to live free from discrimination.Once voters go to the polls in 2018, these protections will have been law for two years, and it will be more obvious than ever that opponents arguments against transgender equality have no basis in reality.

Our co-chairs Mason Dunn and Kasey Suffredini released this statement today:

“Legislators updated our Commonwealth’s civil rights law this year to legally protect transgender people from discrimination with the overwhelming support of thousands of businesses, faith leaders, women’s advocacy and anti-violence groups, and fair-minded residents across the state. It takes less than 1% of the Commonwealth’s population to force this commonsense update of our state law to the ballot in 2018. The people of the Commonwealth have a deep and long history of promoting fairness and inclusion. When presented with the question of whether to continue to treat transgender people as equal members of the Commonwealth in 2018, they will vote yes.”

This in no way changes the fact that as of October 1st, transgender Bay Staters are currently fully protected from discrimination under Massachusetts law—and they will remain protected between now and the 2018 election.

Freedom Massachusetts, the bipartisan campaign that worked to pass the law, has already begun the process of filing the paperwork with the state to form a ballot committee to defend #TransLawMA. Freedom Massachusetts is committed to fighting this ballot initiative all the way to November 2018. If you agree that discrimination has no place in Massachusetts, join in opposing the effort to repeal these hard-won protections with Freedom Massachusetts: Sign the pledge right now to declare that you’re ready to do what it takes to uphold transgender non-discrimination protections.

Freedom for All Americans thanks our state and national partner organizations who are working with us through Freedom Massachusetts – including the Massachusetts Transgender Political CoalitionMassEquality, the American Civil Liberties UnionGay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, the Anti-Defamation League, PFLAG of Greater Boston, and the Human Rights Campaign.

Transgender people across Massachusetts, who were at the forefront of the fight for their equal protections, are resilient and defiant even in the face of today’s news. After all, #TransLawMA unequivocally has brought greater protections, freedom, safety, and equality to transgender people in the state of Massachusetts – and working together, over the next two years, we are confident that we will win.

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