Efforts to protect hard-won non-discrimination protections for transgender Bay Staters entered a new phase today, as state officials confirmed that opponents of transgender equality have succeeded in collecting the minimum number of signatures required to put #TransLawMA up for a public vote.
Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin announced this afternoon that opponents of transgender equality have collected sufficient signatures to qualify support the proposed initiative for the ballot. That means a question requiring voters to affirm or repeal the law will appear on the 2018 general election ballot.
Massachusetts has an extremely low threshold to qualify for the ballot. Potential initiatives need signatures from less than 1% of voters, a minimum requirement that even extremists like those seeking to repeal #TransLawMA can often satisfy.
But although they succeeded in meeting the signature requirement to put this question in front of voters, it’s anything but clear that an effort to repeal #TransLawMA will succeed at the ballot box. This year, an overwhelming, bipartisan coalition—including businesses, municipal leaders, and grassroots advocates—worked to pass transgender protections through the legislature.
Knowing this, we’re confident that fair-minded Bay Staters will vote to affirm the right of everyone to live free from discrimination.Once voters go to the polls in 2018, these protections will have been law for two years, and it will be more obvious than ever that opponents arguments against transgender equality have no basis in reality.
Our co-chairs Mason Dunn and Kasey Suffredini released this statement today:
“Legislators updated our Commonwealth’s civil rights law this year to legally protect transgender people from discrimination with the overwhelming support of thousands of businesses, faith leaders, women’s advocacy and anti-violence groups, and fair-minded residents across the state. It takes less than 1% of the Commonwealth’s population to force this commonsense update of our state law to the ballot in 2018. The people of the Commonwealth have a deep and long history of promoting fairness and inclusion. When presented with the question of whether to continue to treat transgender people as equal members of the Commonwealth in 2018, they will vote yes.”
Furthermore, the fact remains that, as of October 1st, transgender Bay Staters are currently fully protected from discrimination under Massachusetts law—and they will remain protected between now and the 2018 election.
We have already begun the process of filing the paperwork with the state to form a ballot committee to defend #TransLawMA. Freedom Massachusetts is committed to fighting this ballot initiative all the way to November 2018. If you agree that discrimination has no place in our state, join us in opposing the effort to repeal these hard-won protections.