By Bob Katzen
Question 3 asks voters if they approve of that law that has been in effect for two years. The law added “gender identity” to existing Massachusetts civil rights laws that already prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, religion and marital status.
Public accommodations are defined as “any place that is open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public including hotels, stores, restaurants, theaters, sports facilities and hospitals.”
Gender identity is defined as “a person’s sincerely held gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not it is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.”
The law also requires restrooms, locker rooms and other places that have separate areas for males and females to allow people access to and full use of those areas consistent with their gender identity.
“This needs to be repealed because no woman should be put in the position where her body is exposed in a way she doesn’t want or is uncomfortable with,” said Debby Dugan, Chairwoman Of Keep MA Safe, the organization that collected sufficient signatures to put the repeal question on the ballot. “It needs to be repealed because no woman should be forced to choose between her livelihood and being made to touch a man’s genitals. It needs to be repealed because the law allows convicted sex offenders to claim a protected class to prey upon women. As the law stands now women are forced into these very positions, which is why it needs to be repealed.”
“We are urging voters to vote Yes on 3 this Election Day to uphold the state law that protects transgender people from discrimination and harassment in public places, such as restaurants, retail shops and medical offices,” said Matt Wilder, a spokesman for the Yes on 3 Campaign.
“We all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and that’s what this law does,” continued Wilder. “In the two years since it was passed there has been no increase in public safety incidents in public places, including restrooms and that is why the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association and the state’s 50 leading sexual assault prevention agencies all support upholding the law.”
“The bill was not needed to address discrimination,” said Rep. Marc Lombardo (R–Billerica). “The Mass Commission Against Discrimination said they didn’t need this bill to protect the rights of transgender people because of the previously settled Jette v. Honey Farms case heard by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. This bill was about gender identity and a radical left push to eliminate societal and scientific norms about gender. This bill allows boys to use girls’ locker room in school and if a young female student complains, she would have to go to counseling. This bill allows men to use women’s bathrooms and any father who speaks up to protects his daughter’s privacy can be subject to jail time. This bill allows 5-year-old kids to choose what gender they want to be.”
“The eyes of the nation will be on Massachusetts this November as Bay Staters across the commonwealth will decide whether to protect equality for transgender people,” said Sarah McBride, National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign. “The right of transgender people in Massachusetts to access restaurants, public transportation and hospitals is on the line with Question 3. If successful in repealing protections in Massachusetts, anti-equality extremists will be emboldened to undermine equality for LGBTQ people around the nation. But by voting Yes, voters across Massachusetts will have the chance to make clear that the heart of the commonwealth is big enough to love and welcome all people.”
Here are the official arguments, published by the secretary of state.
IN FAVOR: Written by Susan Donnelly,
Freedom for All Massachusetts.
Keeps Massachusetts welcoming and fair.
Prevents discrimination in places like stores, restaurants, and hospitals.
Protects transgender youth and adults.
Lets transgender people go about their daily lives, including in restrooms, which we all need to use.
We all value safety and privacy, including transgender people. This law has been in place for two years with no increase in public safety incidents. Harassing people remains illegal, and those who commit crimes are still prosecuted.
That’s why experts who support the law include:
Law enforcement, including the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police.
Women’s organizations and the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.
The Massachusetts Parent-Teacher Association.
Transgender people are our neighbors, co-workers and friends who contribute to our thriving communities. A Yes vote upholds basic values of fairness, dignity and respect for all.
AGAINST: Written by Debby Dugan of Keep MA Safe.
Voting No repeals the “Bathroom Bill” law and prevents men from entering women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms and intimate spaces. The law violates the privacy and safety of women by allowing any man identifying as a woman, including convicted sex offenders, to share women’s facilities. Under the law, any attempt to block a man from entering the women’s locker room, dressing room, or bathroom could result in individual penalties of up to $50,000 and a year in prison. Businesses are also affected, like a female spa owner who faced a discrimination claim for declining to wax the genitals of a man identifying as a woman. No law should make women and girls feel unsafe and exploit their privacy and security. The Legislature passed a law that goes too far, even refusing to include a provision to exclude convicted sex offenders. A No vote protects women’s privacy.
2016 VOTE ON TRANSGENDER RIGHTS
The House 117-36, Senate 33-4 approved the law that prohibits discrimination against transgender people.
The Senate did not have a roll call vote on the final bill. The 33-4 Senate vote is on an earlier version of the measure.