On Friday, June 30, it was announced that anti-LGBTQ activists had failed in their effort to petition a discriminatory, anti-transgender ballot initiative to Montana’s statewide 2018 election ballot, with less than half the required signatures needed for such an effort. This is yet another example of voters refusing to put the dignity of transgender people up for debate, following similar efforts in Anchorage, Alaska and Washington state.
Free & Fair Montana, the group opposing the ballot initiative, worked hard for several months on a strong, comprehensive campaign to defeat the proposed initiative.
However, now all eyes turn to Massachusetts, referred to by many as “the next transgender rights battleground.” Anti-LGBTQ opponents unfortunately succeeded in gathering the bare minimum number signatures, an incredibly low threshold, to qualify a repeal effort to the 2018 ballot, which would remove existing nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public accommodations that were signed into law by Republican Governor Charlie Baker in 2016. That means this November, Massachusetts will be the first—and the only state—to vote on basic protections for transgender people at the ballot box.
Opponents of equality have made no secret of why they’re targeting Massachusetts: If a repeal effort is successful in Massachusetts, it will embolden them to open the doors to attempt similar efforts across the country.
This is why Freedom For All Massachusetts, our campaign to defend our existing nondiscrimination protections, is working to encourage a YES vote this November in order to continue affording our transgender friends, family, and neighbors their dignity, safety, and security.
A vote of YES will prevent transgender people from being denied access to public spaces, including hospitals, hotels, and doctor’s offices, and allow them to fully participate in public life without the fear of discrimination or possible harassment.
Our coalition already includes transgender people and their families teaming up with more than 1,000 organizations from across the state, including faith leaders, business owners and safety advocates—all committed to upholding transgender equality at the ballot box.
With four months until election day, it is imperative we continue to reach out to voters and inform them about the importance of voting YES this November to defend #TransLawMA. Freedom For All Massachusetts is hosting events around the state every week, mobilizing people to speak to voters. To volunteer in your region of the state, visit our volunteer action calendar here.