After Six Years in Legislature, Bill Adds Transgender People to List of Protected Groups Under State’s Civil Rights Laws
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT civil rights organization, today lauded the Massachusetts Legislature for passing the Transgender Equal Rights Bill. The bill adds protections to the state’s civil rights laws against discrimination in employment, housing, education, and credit based on gender identity or expression and adds gender identity and expression to the state’s hate crimes law. The bill now moves to Governor Patrick who has been a leader in the fight for transgender protections and will sign the bill.
“The Massachusetts legislature today recognized that transgender residents should be treated equally and protected under the law,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The Transgender Equal Rights Bill has languished for years, but today the Legislature sent a clear message of fairness and equality.”
While the Transgender Equal Rights Bill prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, education, and credit, protections in public accommodations were stripped from the final version of the bill. As a member of the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition, HRC will continue to press for full and complete protections for all transgender people in Massachusetts.
In this session of the Massachusetts Legislature, the Human Rights Campaign has worked to build both public and legislative support for this legislation. HRC launched ten action alerts to members and supporters in Massachusetts, generating thousands of contacts to lawmakers in favor of the bill. In addition, HRC President Joe Solmonese submitted testimony in support of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary urging swift passage of the bill. HRC thanks State Representatives Carl Sciortino and Byron Rushing and State Senators Ben Downing and Sonia Chang-Diaz for their leadership as well as MassEquality and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition for their hard work and dedication to equality for all.
When this bill is signed into law, Massachusetts will become the 16th state, along with the District of Columbia, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. For maps of nondiscrimination laws in the states, please visit: www.hrc.org/resources/entry/maps-of-state-laws-policies.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.