In June 2015, the broad-based bipartisan coalition Freedom for All Massachusetts launched with the goal of updating Massachusetts’ longstanding civil rights laws to include nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places such as restaurants, hotels, and hospitals. The campaign aimed to add gender identity as a protected category in the Commonwealth’s public accommodations law alongside age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, religion, and marital status. The Commonwealth had already had gender identity nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing, education and credit since 2011.
In May 2016, Baker indicated that he would sign the bill. By June, the law had passed by an overwhelming bipartisan supermajority of votes in both legislative chambers. It went into effect on October 1, 2016, making Massachusetts the 18th state to fully protect transgender people from discrimination under the law.
Freedom for All Massachusetts enjoys broad and deep support across the state from:
- More than 250 businesses large and small
- More than 350 clergy, faith leaders, and congregations across the state
- 11 labor unions representing more than 750,000 families
- 16 statewide women’s and victim’s advocacy groups
- 14 mayors from across the state
- Every major New England professional sports team
- The state’s leading statewide law enforcement associations and dozens of local law enforcement leaders
- The entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation
- The attorney general, and bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate
Next Steps for the Campaign
In October 2016, the Secretary of the Commonwealth confirmed that opponents of the law secured the low threshold of signatures – less than 1% of the Commonwealth’s population – needed to force this commonsense update of our state law onto the 2018 ballot.
This November, a YES vote on Question 3 is a vote to uphold basic protections for our transgender neighbors, family and friends. When presented in 2018 with the question of whether to continue to treat transgender people as equal members of the Commonwealth, voters will vote Yes on 3.