On Tuesday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced his support of SB 735 and HB 1577, two vital pieces of legislation that would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in public accommodations. In addition to DeLeo’s support, members of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus also urged movement on the bill.
As a member of the Freedom Massachusetts coalition, HRC's Katei Guare and Pi Fong have been hard at work, managing canvasses and phone banks to generate constituent contacts into both legislative offices and the office of the governor. Businesses, civic leaders and brave transgender individuals and their families spoke out about the need for these important and life saving protections.
However, last night, after years of work, it became clear that lawmakers would not vote on these two pieces of legislation before breaking for a holiday recess. As part of the Freedom Massachusetts campaign, we are disappointed, but we'll fight on. SB 735 and HB 1577 are still alive, and we will push for an immediate vote once lawmakers return in 2016.
Over the last six months, the Freedom Massachusetts coalition, a robust coalition including HRC, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, MassEquality, the American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom for All Americans, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, BAGLY, the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, the Anti-Defamation League and PFLAG, has come together and generated unprecedented momentum in support of the legislation.
Currently, there is no state law in Massachusetts explicitly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in public accommodations. Seventeen states have now surpassed Massachusetts to pass these vital non-discrimination protections.