In June 2015, the broad-based bipartisan coalition Freedom for All Massachusetts launched with the goal of updating Massachusetts’ longstanding civil rights laws to include nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places such as restaurants, hotels, and hospitals. The campaign aimed to add gender identity as a protected category in the Commonwealth’s public accommodations law alongside age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, religion, and marital status. The Commonwealth had already had gender identity nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing, education and credit since 2011.
In May 2016, Baker indicated that he would sign the bill. By June, the law had passed by an overwhelming bipartisan supermajority of votes in both legislative chambers. It went into effect on October 1, 2016, making Massachusetts the 18th state to fully protect transgender people from discrimination under the law.
Freedom for All Massachusetts enjoys broad and deep support across the state from:
In October 2016, the Secretary of the Commonwealth confirmed that opponents of the law secured the low threshold of signatures – less than 1% of the Commonwealth’s population – needed to force this commonsense update of our state law onto the 2018 ballot.
The goal of the Freedom for All Massachusetts campaign is to continue building the Commonwealth’s familiarity with transgender people and to continue growing support for fair and equal treatment. Full transgender equality is the law in Massachusetts now. When presented in 2018 with the question of whether to continue to treat transgender people as equal members of the Commonwealth, voters will vote yes.