Anti-Transgender Initiative Fails to Make Ballot in Montana Putting Massachusetts at the Forefront
BOSTON – Freedom for All Massachusetts (FFAM), the statewide coalition seeking to uphold the state’s transgender nondiscrimination law at the ballot in November, today marked two years since Governor Charlie Baker signed the legislation into law. The law protects transgender people from discrimination in public places, such as restaurants, stores, and doctors’ offices.
Shortly after the law went into effect two years ago, opponents gathered the small number of signatures needed to force it onto the November ballot. Massachusetts voters will now face the first-ever statewide popular vote on transgender rights in the nation this Election Day. A recent attempt to place transgender rights on the ballot in Montana failed to meet the requirements there, ensuring the eyes of the nation will be on Massachusetts.
“For two years our transgender friends, coworkers, and neighbors in Massachusetts have been protected from harassment and discrimination because of this law,” said Matt Wilder, Freedom for All Massachusetts Spokesperson. “Despite our opponents best attempts to scare voters, the facts are on our side. There has been no uptick in public safety incidents as a result of this law, and in fact, this law has made our communities safer. Equipped with the facts, we know Massachusetts voters will choose dignity and fairness on election day and vote “Yes” to uphold this critical law.”
Massachusetts has been called “the next transgender rights battleground” and “the biggest test to date” on transgender rights. A “yes” vote will uphold basic protections for transgender people under the law, while a “no” vote will eliminate the current protections. Removing protections in Massachusetts, opponents of LGBTQ equality have said, would embolden them to roll back protections for transgender people from discrimination elsewhere across the country.
Advocates in support of upholding the transgender nondiscrimination law publicly launched their campaign in May with support from the state’s leading influencers such as the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the state’s largest women’s organizations and sexual assault prevention groups such as the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, hundreds of faith leaders, bipartisan legislative leadership, the state’s Republican governor, and more. The launch included the first campaign video showcasing local transgender residents who would be affected by termination of the law: The coalition currently boasts approximately 1,500 statewide organizations and influencers who are urging voters to vote “yes” to keep the law in place.