FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Business leaders warn of economic impact of repeal of transgender protections law
BOSTON – State business leaders today gathered to endorse the “Yes on 3” ballot question campaign, the bi-partisan coalition seeking to uphold the state’s transgender nondiscrimination law at the ballot in November. More than 50 major and mid-sized businesses and business associations were in attendance for the event, held at Eastern Bank headquarters in Boston’s financial district. The groups are urging voters to vote ‘yes on 3’, which upholds the nondiscrimination law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places such as restaurants, shops, and medical offices.
In 2016, at the urging of civic, business and community leaders throughout the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts legislature passed – with a bipartisan, supermajority vote – historic nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places. 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.
“Voting ‘yes’ on question 3 is the right thing to do for our transgender employees, friends, and neighbors, and is the smart thing to do for our region’s economy,” said Bob Rivers, Eastern Bank Chair and CEO. “We need look no further than North Carolina, which suffered devastating economic harm after anti-transgender laws were enacted there. We can’t afford to let that happen in Massachusetts and we must not let this happen in Massachusetts. When everyone is treated equally, we all contribute our best, and businesses and our economy prosper as a result. We stand with the transgender community and support voting ‘yes’ for equality and on question 3 this November.”
A wide range of businesses have joined the yes on 3 coalition, and have made financial contributions, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which has supported the campaign with a $100,000 donation. Other corporate contributions in excess of $25,000 include Eastern Bank, State Street, Biogen, EY, John Hancock, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, MassMutual, National Grid, Partners HealthCare, Putnam, and Bank of America. Additionally, many of the region’s leading law firms have donated to support the campaign. In total, corporate contributions have boosted the yes on 3 campaign by more than $500,000.
“Upholding the state’s transgender nondiscrimination law is critical to protecting our reputation as a leading state to do business,” said Jim Rooney, President of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “We have an obligation to ensure the workforce here feels valued, respected, and safe in Massachusetts. This law does just that. We are proudly urging everyone to vote ‘yes on 3’.”
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 19 states and more than 250 municipalities with nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places. The Massachusetts law also protects transgender people from discrimination in public restrooms and locker rooms.
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.
“Having the support of the region’s leading businesses demonstrates just how broad support is for our campaign,” said Mason Dunn, Yes on 3 Campaign Co-Chair. “Winning this campaign, and upholding basic protections for transgender people like myself, will require not just those who are transgender stepping forward, but all of our allies as well. Today, the business community has shown us they are standing up with us to vote ‘yes’ for equality, and on question 3.”
Businesses interested in getting involved or learning more about the Yes on 3 campaign can visit www.FreedomMA.org.
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.