By a voice vote, the Massachusetts State Senate this morning passed the Transgender Equal Rights bill. Exactly when the Governor, a strong supporter of the bill, will sign it is not yet known. But transgender people across the Commonwealth – approximately 33,000 in number, according to the best available estimates – have cause for celebration today. And advocates can take pride in a broad coalition effort that brought about this significant victory. MTPC is grateful to all who helped make this happen, especially including those legislators who supported the bill’s passage.
Tuesday evening, just before 9:00, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the Transgender Equal Rights bill without amendment. The version passed added “gender identity” to employment, education, housing, and credit non-discrimination law, as well as to hate crimes law. It did not address public accommodations.
Speaking eloquently in support of the bill were lead sponsors Byron Rushing and Carl Sciortino, as well as Judiciary Committee Chair Eugene O’Flaherty. Debate was limited to an hour, and during that time the only amendment offered for a vote – out of a stack offered by opponents – would have struck all but the Hate Crimes provisions. It was defeated by nearly the same margin by which the bill eventually passed.
The state Senate is expected to take up the bill for a vote on Wednesday. The Senate session can be watched at MassLegislature.tv.
Dear Community Members,
I am writing you with important news.
Lawmakers are expected to vote on the Transgender Equal Rights bill TODAY or TOMORROW.
Please take a moment NOW to contact your state lawmakers to ask for their support of this bill.
Your request for support from state lawmakers is vital. Opponents of the bill have been swamping the inboxes of lawmakers. Lawmakers need to know that the public and their constituents support this bill!
Over the next 24 hours, it is critical that lawmakers hear from bill supporters!
MassEquality will be phonebanking in support of the bill all day today. And we need volunteers! During phone banks, we talk to constituents and transfer supporters of the bill directly to their lawmakers’ voicemail boxes so they can leave messages in support of the bill. Call Justin at 617.878.2344 to sign up or send him an email!
In the days ahead, you may hear confusing things about this bill. To be clear, this bill provides vital protections in employment, education, housing, credit, and hate crimes which transgender residents of the Commonwealth desperately need. The bill is not perfect as it does not include public accommodations protections, but it is a solid civil rights bill that represents an historic step forward in supporting full civil rights protections for the transgender community.
Please contact lawmakers today and ask them to vote in favor of this bill.
How to call your legislators
• CONTACT lawmakers and let them know of your support for the bill. Like we have said before they can’t hear from us enough — opponents of the bill have been swamping lawmakers’ inboxes.
What to say when you call:
“Hello, my name is______, and I am a constituent of Representative/Senator______. I’m calling because I want him/her to vote in support of H 502/S764 “An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights” and ask leadership to bring this up for a vote before the end of the year. I’d like to hear from my legislator about their stance on the bill and if they are going to speak with leadership. When should I expect to hear back from you?”
How to email
To find your legislator’s email address go to http://www.malegislature.gov/people/findmylegislator
Hello, my name is______, and I am a constituent of yours and I live at _______(address, city). I’m writing because I want you to support H 502/S764 “An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights” I’d like to hear from you about your stance on this bill and if you are going vote in support of this important legislation.
Your Name, City
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition