The legislation updated the state’s nondiscrimination law to include explicit protections for transgender people from discrimination in public spaces like restaurants, retail stores, and hospitals, including restrooms and locker rooms. Governor Baker signed the bill into law in July 2016. (An existing law already protected transgender people in Massachusetts from discrimination in areas of employment, housing, education, and credit.) In October 2016, opponents of transgender equality secured the low threshold of signatures needed to bring the law to a ballot measure in November 2018.
The new ballot committee filing follows the success of the Freedom Massachusetts coalition, which led the legislative fight and secured endorsements and overwhelming support from diverse voices around the state, including:
- More than 250 businesses
- More than 350 clergy and congregations
- 11 labor unions representing more than 750,000 families
- 16 statewide women’s and victim’s advocacy groups
- Every major professional sports team in New England
- The state’s leading law enforcement associations
- The entire MA congressional delegation
- The state attorney general
- Bipartisan leadership in the House and Senate
- Public endorsements from both the Senate President and the House Speaker, and more.