Major players in the Commonwealth’s business community came together in Boston today to broadcast their support for Yes on 3, the bipartisan campaign to uphold the law protecting our transgender friends and neighbors from discrimination.
More than 50 organizations—including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, State Street, Biogen, EY, John Hancock, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, MassMutual, National Grid, Partners HealthCare, Putnam, and Bank of America—attended the part mixer, part strategy session at the Eastern Bank headquarters in Boston’s financial district.
They had one message to send to the voters charged with preserving the law at ballot box in November: When communities are welcoming places for everyone to live, work and raise families, businesses succeed as well.
That’s why in 2016 a bi-partisan supermajority of lawmakers passed, and Governor Charlie Baker signed, a bill into law protecting transgender people from discrimination in public spaces like restaurants, retail shops and doctors’ offices—protections that other residents of our Commonwealth already enjoyed.
— James E. Rooney (@Boston_Rooney) July 31, 2018
Shortly after the law went into effect, opponents of transgender equality gathered the minimum number of signatures required to place the law on the ballot for repeal in November 2018. Voters must now vote Yes on 3 to uphold it.
Repeal of the law risks Massachusetts going down the path of North Carolina, which lost thousands of new jobs and $630 million in economic investment when the state legislature passed an anti-transgender law. Inclusive policies like Massachusetts’ current law, on the other hand, bring a range of economic benefits.
First, they allow Massachusetts businesses to attract, recruit and retain top talent, improving the state’s business climate. It’s common-sense that’s also backed up by data from the Harvard Business Review and the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Workers, especially millennials, want to live in communities where they know they and their families will be protected from discrimination.
Second, inclusive policies also help encourage new business investment. Massachusetts has been a viable candidate for corporate relocations, expansions, and investments because companies are increasingly conscious that enhancing employees’ quality of life means ensuring they are protected from discrimination. The country’s top companies are writing these protections into their employment policies, but most also want to know their employees are protected when they leave work at the end of the day.
Third, inclusive policies make Massachusetts a more desired destination for travel and vacation, bolstering the state’s tourism industry. Tourism generates $1.2 billion in state and local taxes and $19.5 billion in travel related expenditures, and supports 132,000 in-state jobs. States like Indiana and North Carolina that moved backward on protecting LGBT people from discrimination have found that tourism investments dry up in the aftermath.
We can’t let this backlash come to Massachusetts. Voters must say Yes on 3 this year to protect the strong economy we’ve built in our state—and also because protecting our transgender friends and neighbors from discrimination is simply the right thing to do.