Today, six members of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation sent a letter to House Speaker Robert De Leo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg urging lawmakers to pass legislation updating the state’s public accommodation law to prohibit gender identity discrimination before adjourning for the holiday break next Thursday, November 19th.
The letter—authored by U.S. Reps. Joe Jennedy, Niki Tsongas, Katherine Clark, William Keating, Seth Moulton, Jim McGovern and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey—says it’s long past time for Massachusetts to join the 200 cities and 17 states across the country that already have full non-discrimination laws protecting transgender people on the books:
“None of our transgender neighbors should be denied service at a coffee shop or be harassed in public restrooms because of who they are. None of our transgender children should encounter exclusion or intimidation that makes them shy away from participating in the life of their communities.”
It’s worth noting that it is not typical for members of Congress to weigh in so powerfully on legislation pending in the state legislature. Yet over the last several months, our state’s Congressional delegation has been a powerful voice championing this legislation. In October, Rep. Joe Kennedy testified before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, calling on the Bay State to lead once again when it comes to ensuring civil rights.
Lawmakers adjourn next Thursday, November 19th—and if they fail to act on S.B. 735 and H.B. 1577 by then, it is unlikely this critical bill will move forward until 2017 at the earliest. CLICK HERE to tell your lawmakers: No more delays! Fully protect transgender Bay Staters from discrimination this year.