Business support for legislation fully protecting transgender Bay Staters from discrimination has reached an all-time high: Today, Cape Air, Harvard University,Twitter, John Hancock Financial and the Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association officially joined our campaign to pass SB 375 and HB 1577, which would update Massachusetts non-discrimination law to prohibit gender identity expression in public spaces like parks, restaurants and hotels.
These companies and organizations—many of which are revered as staple, iconic Massachusetts institutions—join more than 160 businesses across the state that have already voiced support for the legislation. They know this legislation isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good for our economy too—by sending a clear message that Massachusetts is truly open for business to everyone.
Paul Andrew, Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications at Harvard University, said the university’s support of SB 375/HB 1577 comes from a long-standing commitment to supporting transgender inclusion efforts on and off campus:
“Harvard University is committed to ensuring that all members of its community, including those who identify as transgender, are afforded equal treatment. This is why gender identity has been included in Harvard’s nondiscrimination policy since 2006. As an educational institution and employer, we have taken great care to ensure that operational steps and internal procedures allow all members of the Harvard community to learn and work at a campus that fosters equality and inclusion. Recognizing that transgender members of our community do not necessarily benefit from these same accommodations outside of Harvard’s campus, we support the pending legislative effort to provide similar protections across the Commonwealth.”
Likewise, Linda Markham, President and CAO of Cape Air, said the company has a history of protecting LGBT employees from discrimination, noting that in 1996, it became the first airline in the nation to offer health benefits to same-sex couples. “It is in this spirit of fundamental fairness that Cape Air supports the transgender accommodation bills (SB 735 and HB 1577) before the Massachusetts state legislature,” she says.
Other companies and organizations joining today’s announcement include EMC Corporation, JP Licks, Legal Sea Foods, Barking Crab restaurant, Mass College of Art, Rosie’s Place and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay are also supporting the bill.
Last week, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary held a public hearing on SB 735/HB1577, hearing from a wide range of testifiers including Attorney General Maura Healey, Congressman Joe Kennedy and representatives from Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare and Eastern Bank. The legislation now awaits a vote from the Joint Committee in the coming weeks.
Growing business support is just the latest indicator: Discrimination has no place in Massachusetts! The people and businesses who call the Bay State home are ready for the laws of our state to at long last fully protect transgender residents and visitors from discrimination.
CLICK HERE to tell your lawmakers to pass SB 735/HB 1577 without delay!