Massachusetts Senate Passes Historic Transgender Protections Bill
May 12, 2016

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Bill now heads to a full vote in the House

BOSTON — Today the Massachusetts Senate overwhelmingly passed SB 735, the bill that would ensure explicit protections for transgender people in public places in Massachusetts, including parks, restaurants, hospitals, and public restrooms. Today’s victory marks the most significant movement on these protections since they were first introduced in the legislature nearly a decade ago.

The bill now heads to a full vote in the House.

“Today’s historic passage of the transgender protections bill in the Massachusetts Senate sends a message the transgender community has longed for decades to hear – that we are truly welcome and valued in our Commonwealth, and that our contributions are a part of the fabric that allows Massachusetts to thrive and prosper,” said Kasey Suffredini, co-chair of Freedom Massachusetts, the bipartisan campaign working to pass the bill. “We are grateful to Senate President Rosenberg and the bill’s lead sponsor since 2010, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, for their determined leadership in bringing us to this victory. They have raised the bar on what being a champion for LGBT equality looks like, and in the process, they have saved lives. We urge the House to swiftly bring this bill to a vote and bring it one step closer to the governor’s desk and becoming law. Massachusetts is ready.”

Massachusetts is the only state in the country where lawmakers have considered a proactive, transgender-specific bill this session. Earlier this week, the federal Department of Justice filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina for its new law requiring discrimination against transgender people. The state has lost millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs since passing the law, and billions more in federal funding are at stake.

In total, over the past year, the transgender protections bill has gained support from more than 250 businesses, 350 clergy and congregations, 11 labor unions representing more than 750,000 families, leading law enforcement organizations, 16 Massachusetts-based women’s groups and advocates against violence and sexual assault, the entire MA congressional delegation, all of New England’s champion sports teams, bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate, and more.

Republican Governor Charlie Baker has moved from campaigning against transgender protections in 2010 to favorING allowing people to use the restrooms that match the gender they live as everyday, and sending what the Boston Globe labeled his “strongest signals yet” that he will not veto the bill when it comes to his desk.

A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll released this past weekend found that Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly support statewide protections for transgender people in public places, by a 23-point margin.

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Freedom Massachusetts is the bipartisan campaign working to ensure all people are treated fairly and equally under the law.


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