For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Facebook announces support for bill that would ban discrimination of Transgender people
Boston – Supporters of legislation that would update existing state law to provide explicit protections in public spaces for transgender people in Massachusetts from discrimination held a State House rally Thursday to meet and educate legislators on the importance of the legislation. The Freedom Massachusetts Coalition also announced that social media titan Facebook has signed on in support of the legislation. It was also announced that Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy has signed a non-discrimination ordinance into effect in her city.
“No one in Massachusetts should be excluded from public places or mistreated because of who they are,” said State Representative Denise Provost. “Massachusetts law must fully protect transgender people from discrimination. The absence of full civil rights amounts to second-class citizenship.”
Existing state law does not explicitly prohibit discrimination against transgender people to be refused services at businesses and public places, including restaurants, parks, and medical offices. The City of Lynn becomes the 13th municipality in Massachusetts to adopt a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance. The Lynn City Council approved the measure in a unanimous vote. Last week, in a letter to members of the Massachusetts Legislature and Governor Charlie Baker, 12 mayors – including Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll – from across the Commonwealth called on the legislation to be passed.
“People who lived through or have seen pictures of the 1960 civil rights sit-ins at lunch counters will remember that public accommodations are fundamental to equal rights in America,” said State Representative Sonia Chang-Diaz. “No one should be made to feel unsafe because of their identity in our society, especially in a state like Massachusetts, where we have shown again and again that we value equality.”
Provost and Chang-Diaz are lead sponsors of the bill and spoke at Lobby Day. Additional speakers included Lorelei Erisis, writer and activist; Rev. Cameron Partridge, Episcopalian minister; Rep. Paul Tucker of Salem; Karen Young, Vice President of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; and Jonathan Miller, representing the office of the attorney general of Massachusetts; Justice Williams, BodyImage4Justice.
A hearing of the state’s Judiciary Committee, which will hear the bill (House Bill 1577/Senate Bill 735), has been scheduled for October 6.
For more information, visit www.freedommassachusetts.org.
Freedom Massachusetts is the bipartisan campaign working to ensure all people are treated fairly and equally under the law.