Freedom Mass Statement, Transgender Law Qualifying for 2018 Ballot Measure, Reactions

Transgender Law

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Faith leaders and advocates to host conference on October 13 to discuss next steps on Transgender Law

BOSTON—Today the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, William F. Galvin, confirmed that opponents of the transgender protections law in Massachusetts have collected enough signatures to bring the law to a 2018 ballot measure.

The news follows a lawsuit filed today by the Alliance Defending Freedom, alleging that Massachusetts’ transgender protections law infringes on protections for churches and people of faith, and seeking to create an unprecedented special exemption from the law, above and beyond the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion for all Americans. Massachusetts’ nondiscrimination law was updated this year to include transgender people in public places and took effect October 1.

Despite unprecedented bipartisan support for transgender protections—including from businesses, municipal leaders, and at the grassroots level—opponents of equality will stop at nothing to make transgender discrimination legal again.

Kasey Suffredini and Mason Dunn, co-chairs of Freedom Massachusetts, the successful bipartisan campaign to pass the law, released the following statement:

“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.”

The fact that our opponents qualified for the ballot in NO way changes the fact that transgender non-discrimination is the law of the land. Transgender Bay Staters are fully protected—and they will remain protected between now and the 2018 election.

Freedom Massachusetts has already filed a ballot committee to defend the law—and we will fight from now until election day in 2018 to ensure that #TransLawMA continues providing much-needed protections across the Commonwealth.

Together, this year, we raised up the voices of transgender Bay Staters. And after listening to our stories and hearing, first-hand, why #TransLawMA matters to us—lawmakers voted with bipartisan support to ensure we are treated fairly and equally under the law.

In April, more than 300 of these clergy and over 50 congregations participated in a Faith Weekend of Action in support of the transgender protections law, stating:

“We believe in treating others the way we’d like to be treated. … We should all be treated equally under the law. As Faith Leaders we are called to take a stand for those who face discrimination to repudiate acts of prejudice. The [transgender protections law] extends basic civil rights to those who too often live in fear of harm.”

Faith leaders will stand alongside Freedom Massachusetts in hosting a press conference at King’s Chapel on Thursday, October 13 at 10:30 a.m. to officially respond, discuss next steps, and reiterate the broad range of support for the law. Details below:

WHO: Faith leaders, women’s and anti-violence advocates, families, business owners, and supporters of transgender people in Massachusetts

WHAT: Press conference to discuss next steps for upholding transgender protections law and preserving the prohibition on discrimination against transgender people in public places and government buildings such as libraries, stores, restaurants and hospitals

WHERE: King’s Chapel, 58 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02108

WHEN: Thursday, October 13, 10:30 a.m. EST

More than 350 faith leaders, churches, and congregations announced support for the transgender protections law over the past year. For a full list of these clergy and churches, visit www.freedommassac husetts.org/faith/. In April, more than 300 of these clergy and over 50 congregations participated in a Faith Weekend of Action in support of the transgender protections law, stating:

“We believe in treating others the way we’d like to be treated. … We should all be treated equally under the law. As Faith Leaders we are called to take a stand for those who face discrimination to repudiate acts of prejudice. The [transgender protections law] extends basic civil rights to those who too often live in fear of harm.”

Sign the pledge saying you’ll commit to protecting full transgender equality in Massachusetts.

Freedom Massachusetts is the bipartisan campaign working to ensure all people are treated fairly and equally under the law.

[From a compilation News Releases]


MassEquality Responds to 

In response to the release of information regarding the collection of certified signatures for a ballot question to repeal Massachusetts’ transgender rights law, MassEquality’s Executive Director, Deborah Shields, JD, MPH, released the following statement:

Just days after S.2407, An Act relative to transgender anti-discrimination, went into effect on October 1st, opponents of transgender equality are trying to strip transgender people in Massachusetts of these critical protections.

“Yesterday afternoon, the Secretary of the Commonwealth confirmed that anti-transgender advocates collected the minimal number of signatures required to put a question seeking to repeal S.2407 on the statewide ballot in 2018. This law passed with bipartisan support in the legislature and with the overwhelming support of thousands of businesses, faith leaders, women’s advocacy and anti-violence groups, and fair-minded residents across the state. However, it takes less than 1% of the Commonwealth’s population to force this commonsense update of our state law onto the ballot in two years’ time.

“The people of Massachusetts have a deep and long history of promoting fairness and inclusion. If the question of whether to continue to treat transgender people as equal members of our society ends up before Massachusetts voters in 2018, we are confident they will vote to retain the law and affirm the values of justice and equality that are the hallmarks of our Commonwealth.”

The transgender anti-discrimination law was passed by the Senate on May 12th with a vote of 33 to 4, and the House version of the bill passed on June 1st with a vote of 116-36. A compromise bill reconciling language differences between the House and Senate versions was released from a conference committee on July 6th. The following day, the bill was passed by both the Senate and the House by wide margins. The bill was signed into law by Governor Baker on July 8th.

MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.