On the final legislative voting day in 2015, it has become evident the Massachusetts State Legislature will not take a decision on SB 735 & HB 1577 this year.
The legislation would update the state’s civil rights law to include non-discrimination protections for transgender Bay Staters in public spaces like restaurants, doctor’s offices and sport stadiums.
The legislature’s inaction in 2015 comes as a disappointment. However, the current session runs until July, 2016 and the transgender rights bill will remain live and up for vote until then. In a statement issued just hours ago, our own co-chairs, Kasey Suffredini and Mason Dunn, underscored that Freedom Massachusetts will continue its diligent pursuit of full transgender protections in 2016:
While it is disappointing transgender young people and adults in our state will have to wait longer to see legislation enacted that fully protects them from discrimination, our fight is not over. The discrimination is real, the harassment is pervasive, and the need for a clear statement of prohibition by our government is urgent. Our momentum is building and our voices are being heard. The stakes are too high and we are so close, so we will continue our relentless pursuit of equal protections for all residents of Massachusetts until the end of this legislative session.
The legislation has sweeping support from a wide array of community members, ranging from transgender youth and their families, to 170+ businesses—large and small—and major chambers of commerce, to lead law enforcement associations, top-tier colleges and universities, municipal leaders and the entire congressional delegation.
This impressive coalition got a boost yesterday when House Speaker Robert DeLeo publicly announced his endorsement of the legislation.
The strength of these member groups coupled with the tens of thousands of active grassroots supporters will be channeled into the fight for a speedy 2016 vote. More and more municipalities and states—like New York, most recently—are enacting full transgender protections. And Massachusetts is surely soon to follow suit.