Legislation SB 735 & HB 1577 just got a major lift with endorsements from iconic Massachusetts sports teams, including the New England Patriots, New England Revolution, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and TD Garden.
These teams join the Boston Red Sox, which pledged it’s support in November for legislation that would update the state’s existing civil rights law to include non-discrimination protections for transgender Bay Staters in public places like restaurants, shopping malls and sports stadiums.
The Celtics issued a written statement to the Boston Globe over the weekend, saying: the team is “proud to support efforts that guarantee equal access rights for everyone.”
An endorsement of this scale from nationally renowned competitive sports teams is unprecedented. And it couldn’t have come at a more pivotal moment.
Last year, lawmakers failed to take action on SB 735 & HB 1577, punting the issue to 2016. Now that the State Legislature is officially back in session as of last Wednesday, all eyes are on the Statehouse to bring the transgender non-discrimination legislation to a swift vote.
With public endorsement from Massachusetts’ most famed sports organizations, legislators are likely feeling increased pressure to act.
According to Carly Burton, our own campaign manager, today’s endorsement is just proof that passing legislation to extend full rights to transgender Bay Staters is an obvious next step for the Commonwealth:
It shows that this is not a controversial issue. A wide variety of people, a wide variety of businesses, support nondiscrimination protections.
The sports teams join a growing list of more than 180 businesses and major academic institutions who support the passage of fully-inclusive transgender non-discrimination.
Additionally, support amongst government officials and agencies is at an all-time high with endorsements from chief law enforcement groups, the entire congressional delegation, and an impressive mayoral coalition representing municipalities across the state that already have local ordinances fully protecting transgender Bay Staters from discrimination.
Moreover, Senate President Stan Rosenberg has already committed to pass SB 735 & HB 1577 with wide support. And House Speaker Reobert A. DeLeo, who announced his public support of the legislation last November, is working to wrangle a two-thirds supermajority of support in his chamber before bringing the legislation to vote.
Today’s endorsement from competitive sports teams sends a clear message of acceptance and respect for Massachusetts’ transgender communities. It’s time for Commonwealth law to reflect this overwhelming majority of public and private support, and for legislators to pass comprehensive transgender non-discrimination protections post-haste.