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Opponents of Massachusetts’ New Transgender Protections Threaten to Put Repeal on Ballot

Just before crucial protections for the transgender community are set to take effect in Massachusetts, opponents of the law are claiming they have enough signatures to put a repeal measure on the ballot in 2018.

The law, which was signed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in July, extends commonsense, non-discrimination protections to transgender residents and visitors to the state. While Massachusetts state law already prohibited discrimination against transgender people in housing and employment, the new law extends these same crucial protections to public accommodations, such as access to restaurants, malls, restrooms and other facilities.

There has been overwhelming support throughout the state and the region for the law. The legislation was endorsed by every New England professional sports team, state education groups, the Boston Globe editorial board and a host of officials including, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

The push for repeal does not stop the law from taking effect on Saturday. Healey recently issued a guidance on how businesses must implement the law. Should the law end up on the ballot, it will have already been in effect for two years before voters weigh in.

“We look forward to Saturday, when these needed and commonsense non-discrimination protections will be extended to transgender residents and visitors to the Bay State,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “Should the law proceed to the ballot in 2018 – which is still not a certainty – we hope and expect that Massachusetts voters’ strong support for fairness and equality will lead them to vote to uphold this law.”