76% of MA Voters Favor Trans Protections

New Poll Shows Broad, Deep Support for Legislation

A new poll shows that 76% of Massachusetts voters, including 81% of women, support passing a law prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners from November 4-8 2009, was released today by a coalition of Massachusetts organizations* working to pass non-discrimination legislation.  It was based on telephone interviews with 400 likely voters.

Advocates said the poll demonstrates far greater support for the non-discrimination bill (H. 1728/S. 1687) than previously thought. The bill is now being studied by the joint Judiciary Committee of the legislature.

“Voters understand discrimination and don’t want to see it allowed in the Commonwealth,” said Rep. Carl Sciortino (D), lead sponsor of the bill.  “Legislators seriously underestimate their constituents if they think voters don’t get this.  It’s time for Massachusetts to join the 13 other states that ban discrimination against their transgender citizens.”

Not only did voters say they want their legislators to pass this law, more than half (51%) are more likely to vote for their legislator if their representative voted for the bill.  Only 14% would be less likely to vote for such a legislator.

Several states have recently added gender identity and expression to their non discrimination laws.  Last week, voters of Kalamazoo, MI overwhelmingly passed a measure that will add gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals to an existing city ordinance banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations.

“Every day in Massachusetts, transgender people lose their jobs, are evicted, suffer harassment, and are denied services because of who they are,” said Sciortino.  “Let’s not tolerate that any more.  Let’s pass this bill.”

View the poll and the Lake Research Partners analysis.

*Coalition members include the Massachusetts chapter of National Organization for Women; the National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter; ACLU of Massachusetts; Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; MassEquality; Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus; Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association; and 70 other member organizations of the Transgender Civil Rights Coalition.