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Massachusetts might be the first state to repeal a law protecting trans rights

Joseph McCormick July 11, 2017
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Just after Massachusetts celebrates a year since it extended nondiscrimination protections to trans residents, efforts to repeal the law could be successful.

Back in 2016, after the bill was passed with super majorities in both chambers, its opponents said they had gained enough signatures to bring it to a November 2018 ballot.

If the ballot measure were successful, Massachusetts would be the first and only US state to repeal transgender protections.

Ballot box

The law was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker, and bans discrimination against trans people in public accommodations, as the state already banned housing and employment discrimination for the same reason.

It became the 19th state in the US with sexual orientation and gender identity protections.

An amendment which would restrict petitions which are voter-led, was endorsed by the Massachusetts Legislatures Joint Judiciary earlier this year.

While petitions that are “inconsistent” with the rights of individuals are already banned in the Declaration of Rights, the amendment would mean that minorities would not be overpowered by the voting power of the majority.

The move came after enough signatures were filed by anti-trans activist to put a question on the 2018 ballot to repeal a law protecting transgender people’s rights to use a gender-appropriate public restroom.

The law had also protected against anti-LGBT discrimination in restaurants and other places of public accommodation.

Senator William Brownberger, who is the chair of the Judiciary Committee said the amendment would infringe on the “freedom to marry”.

He added that it could be applied to “women’s rights questions in the future.”

But the amendment would not be in place for the 2018 ballot, even if adopted.

Despite this, Rushing says he thinks that the 2018 question would not be on the ballot if his amendment had been introduced.

When the Supreme Judicial Court in 2003 legalised same-sex marriage, activists came close to bringing forth a question on a ballot to re-ban it.

More: ballot, Massachusetts, protections, repeal, Trans, Transgender, US

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