Governor Deval Patrick Signs Transgender Equal Rights Bill Today, Public Signing To Be Held in Near Future

Today, Governor Deval Patrick is expected to sign the Transgender Equal Rights Bill privately, as he has just a 10-day window in which to sign bills into law. The bill was passed by the legislature last week. A public signing ceremony will be scheduled for a future date. The law will take effect on July 1, 2012.

“Governor Patrick has been a vocal supporter of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill since the bill was first filed in 2007” said Gunner Scott, executive director of the Mass. Transgender Political Coalition. “We applaud the Governor because he has been a staunch advocate in recognizing the transgender community and leader in getting this bill passed.”

Gov. Patrick was a vocal proponent of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, advocating, he has submitted written testimony in support of the bill at all three public hearings. Last February, he signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in state employment, which reaches 43,500 executive branch employees and 13,500 state contractors.

In 2008, Gov. Patrick appointed the first transgender person, Diego Sanchez, to a Democratic National Committee standing committee. Diego Sanchez is a former co-chair of MTPC and has since gone on to work as the first out transgender legislative staffer for Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

MTPC thanks the members of the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition for all of their efforts in passing “An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights.” Some of the 104 members of the coalition include MassEquality, MassNOW; ACLU of Massachusetts; Jane Doe, Inc., The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence; National Association of Social Workers, MA; Mass AFL-CIO; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; Mass Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus; Jobs with Justice; the Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality; and Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.

The House voted 95-58, and the House vote tally is here: http://aclum.org/sites/all/files/legislative/2011/trans/mass_trans_house_vote.pdf. The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote (see MTPC Senate co-sponsor list).

MTPC encourages all community members to thank the Representatives and Senators that voted for the bill and most especially, the lead sponsors, Representative Carl Sciortino & Byron Rushing, and Senators Ben Downing, and Sonia Chang-Diaz; the legislature’s leadership House Speaker Robert Deleo and Senate President Therese Murray; and especially, Governor Deval Patrick.

MTPC will alert community members to the date and location of the public signing ceremony so community members may attend and MTPC plans to hold an additional community event on or about the same day to share in this historic moment.