With six months to go before election day, coalition announces it has more than 1,000 coalition members in support of voting “yes” to uphold state law.
BOSTON – Freedom for All Massachusetts (FFAM), the bipartisan coalition seeking to uphold the state’s transgender nondiscrimination law at the ballot in November, today officially launched its campaign and unveiled the broad coalition of early support for the law. Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo joined with sexual assault and domestic violence prevention experts, business representatives, faith leaders, additional coalition members, and transgender people and their families to voice their support for voting “yes” to uphold the law signed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2016.
“With six months until election day, we are officially kicking off our campaign to bring awareness to this important issue of fairness and dignity that will be on the ballot in November,” said FFAM campaign co-chair Kasey Suffredini. “We have an unprecedented coalition of bipartisan support for upholding basic protections for transgender people in the Commonwealth; and now, together, we will move forward to bring the facts and information to voters across Massachusetts.”
Massachusetts is the first state in the nation where transgender protections will be up for a vote on a statewide ballot measure. Currently, Massachusetts is among 18 states and more than 250 municipalities with nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places, such as restaurants, shops, and medical offices. The law also protects transgender people from discrimination in public restrooms and locker rooms.
“The passage of the transgender nondiscrimination law in 2016 was one of my proudest moments as Speaker of the House, due in large part to the incredible advocates and families who bravely shared their stories,” said Speaker DeLeo. “Now we must do all we can to be sure Massachusetts doesn’t take a giant step backward. This is not about political party, as evidenced by the support of many Republicans – including Governor Baker – for this law. It’s about people. I’m ready to do all I can to be sure we uphold this critical law at the ballot because it is about the values Massachusetts stands for.”
FFAM today announced that more than 1,000 organizations, law enforcement officials, sexual assault and domestic violence prevention experts, business leaders, members of the faith community, and more have joined the coalition in support of upholding the law at the ballot.
“Jane Doe Inc. fully supports the existing state’s transgender nondiscrimination law because no one in our communities becomes less safe by laws protecting transgender people from discrimination,” said Jane Doe Inc. Executive Director Debra Robbin. “This law ensures we can all live our lives with privacy and dignity.”
In April, voters in Anchorage, Alaska upheld their city’s transgender nondiscrimination law at the ballot, becoming the first jurisdiction in America to ever do so. And in New Hampshire on Wednesday, the Republican-controlled Senate voted to pass a transgender nondiscrimination bill that would make the Granite State the 19th state — and final state in New England — to provide explicit, comprehensive protections for transgender people from discrimination. The Republican-controlled House passed the bill in March and the Governor has committed to signing the bill into law.
Business support for FFAM is also strong with more than 200 – large and small – in support of upholding the current law. The campaign’s business support is led by Harvard Pilgrim, Google and Eastern Bank.
FFAM also announced today plans to hold door-to-door canvass events across the state over the next six months, beginning this weekend in Boston and Worcester.
“Opponents of our state’s transgender nondiscrimination law often use misleading tactics to misrepresent who transgender people are and what this law is about,” said FFAM campaign co-chair Mason Dunn. “We are going directly to voters across Massachusetts to ensure they understand that at its core this law is about our friends, family members, and neighbors, as well as dignity, respect, and safety for all.”
In 2016, at the urging of civic, business and cultural leaders throughout the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts legislature passed – with a bipartisan, supermajority vote – the historic nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places in Massachusetts. Governor Charlie Baker signed the bill into law in July 2016. Shortly after it went into effect in October 2016, a small group of opponents gathered the minimum number of signatures required to place the law on the ballot for repeal in November 2018.
FFAM, the campaign to uphold the current state law protecting transgender people from discrimination, is the “yes” vote on the November ballot. Currently the campaign has a full-time staff of 13 people based in several regions across the state.
Freedom for All Massachusetts is the coalition working to uphold the state’s current nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places like restaurants, retails shops and hospitals, ensuring that Massachusetts continues to be a national leader on equality and fairness for all. A November 2018 ballot referendum will ask voters whether they want to retain the law, which has been effective since July 2016.