350 Faith Leaders and Congregations Host Weekend of Action, Speak Up for Full Transgender Protections in Massachusetts
April 8, 2016

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This weekend, more than 300 faith leaders and 50 congregations across the state will join in a “Weekend of Action” aimed at urging state lawmakers to pass SB 735/HB1577, legislation updating Massachusetts public accommodation law to protect transgender people from discrimination. The various actions include dedicating part of a service to nondiscrimination through a reading, psalm, or blessing; inviting a speaker to educate congregants about the transgender protections bill; letter-writing campaigns to local elected officials; and more.

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The Weekend of Action also marks the launch of Massachusetts Faith Leaders for Freedom, a diverse coalition of faith leaders across the state who support full protections under the law for transgender Bay Staters. The full list includes well-respected clergy and faith leaders from across the Commonwealth.

“As an African American Baptist, I believe denying transgender Americans access to public spaces is eerily reminiscent of the country’s last century Jim Crow era denying blacks access to lunch counters, water fountains, and restrooms, to name a few,” said Rev. Irene Monroe, WGBH news commentator, Huffington Post blogger, and syndicated religion columnist. “I know that policing my transgender brothers and sisters in public spaces also gravely impacts gender non-conforming people, as well as the rest of the community. Democracy can only begin when those at the margins have the same access to what others take for granted. That’s what the social gospel of Jesus instructs us to do.”

Rev. Roy (Bud) Cederholm of the Bishop Suffragan Diocese of Mass, says his support for #TransBillMA is rooted in the golden rule:

“Long before I took vows to serve as a Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Mass., I believed deeply in my baptismal vows and strived to live them daily – love my neighbor as myself and strive for peace and justice, respecting the dignity of every human being. Vows and principles similar to these are found in all faith traditions and serve as a just and moral mandate for legislation that protects the dignity of our transgender neighbors in public places.”

For Rabbi Devon A. Lerner, DD, MSW, SB735/HB 1577 affirm the long-standing belief that no one should face discrimination because of who they are:

“Every year, during Passover, we tell the story of our people’s Exodus from Egypt, when we were enslaved simply because we were Jewish. The story reminds us, in our own time, that we should never discriminate against anyone, simply for being who they are. God created all of us equally with no qualifications. Gay and lesbian people were once denied these protections because of who they love. Now we must all stand by our transgender friends and neighbors to ensure that they too are protected against discrimination.”

These faith leaders raise their voices just one day after key business executives took to the Statehouse to make the case for the legislation. They join a robust coalition from across the Commonwealth, including key law enforcement officials, every professional New England sports team, leading education advocates, numerous colleges/universities, mayors of 12 cities/towns, transgender families and a supermajority of Bay Staters across the state who agree discrimination has no place in Massachusetts.

If you’re a faith leader who supports full protections for transgender people, CLICK HERE to join Massachusetts Faith Leaders for Freedom.

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