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Massachusetts Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Initiative

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Massachusetts Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Initiative is a state-wide referendum passed by Massachusetts voters in the 6 November 2018 mid-term election that prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of gender identity. The vote upholds language which was already present in the state anti-discrimination statute, defeating an attempt to veto it by public referendum. It is the first state-wide anti-discrimination statute passed by referendum supporting transgender rights in the United States.[1][2]

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Contents

Statute

On July 7, 2016, “An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination” (Senate Bill 2407) was passed by a voice vote in the Senate and 117-36 in the House. It was signed by Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker the next day. It took effect on October 1, 2016. It amended Section 92A of chapter 272 of the General Laws to cover "gender identity" in "any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement that lawfully segregates or separates access...based on a person’s sex" such that all individuals shall be treated "consistent with the person’s gender identity."[3] The places of "public accommodation" where discrimination is forbidden include, according to GLAD, "restaurants, libraries, hotels, malls, public transportation, and beyond," as well as "bathrooms and locker rooms."[4]

Support for the "No" vote

Keep MA Safe opposed the 2016 anti-discrimination law and advocated for its repeal. A press release on their website dated September 28, 2016, said that "hundreds of volunteers" had met the deadline to provide the 32,375 signatures required to get the question on the ballot.[5]

Their campaign finance report filed September 7, 2018, indicated that the group raised $286,000 since the campaign began in 2017. Of this, $106,300 was raised in 2018.[6]

An older group, MassResistance, founded by Brian Camenker in 1995, feared that Keep MA Safe's campaign was inadequate. One month before the election, MassResistance began its own splinter campaign with its preferred, "admittedly more inflammatory alternative" message that gender is determined by sex, that transgender identity is a mental disorder, and that there should be no civil rights based on transgender identity.[7]

Several days after the election, MassResistance published an article undercutting Keep MA Safe's main argument. The claim that transgender women pose a threat in public bathrooms, MassResistance alleged, was an invention. MassResistance said that this "largely contrived" position had been used in the Massachusetts political campaign mainly because it appealed to emotion and had been used successfully when the city of Houston voted against housing and employment rights three years earlier; however, it had failed in Massachusetts. "Our side concocted the 'bathroom safety' male predator argument," MassResistance confessed.[8]

Support for the "Yes" vote

Freedom For All Massachusetts, also known as "Yes on 3," formed to campaign for the "Yes" vote to preserve the existing anti-discrimination law.

The political advocacy coalition included:

  • hundreds of large and small businesses,[9] including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and healthcare organizations including Boston Children's Hospital;[10]
  • hundreds of clergy and congregations;[11]
  • 47 "sexual assault, domestic violence and women’s organizations";[12]
  • 28 higher education organizations;[13]
  • 16 labor unions;[14]
  • 172 nonprofit and advocacy organizations including the ACLU,[15] the Anti-Defamation League, the Boston Bar Association, the Boston Public Library, the Massachusetts Public Health Association, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Museum of Science, the National Association of Social Workers, National Organization for Women (Massachusetts Chapter), New England Philharmonic, Victim Rights Law Center (Massachusetts Chapter), Women’s Bar Association (WBA) of Massachusetts, and multiple YWCAs;[16]
  • "every major New England professional sports team" including the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots, as well as the sports arena TD Garden;[17]
  • 29 mayors, including those of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Worcester, Northampton, Framingham, Salem, and Lowell;[18]
  • Massachusetts law enforcement organizations including the Chiefs of Police, Major City Chiefs, and Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers;[19]
  • the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey;
  • politicians from both parties in the state House and Senate; and
  • "the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation."[20]

Freedom for All Massachusetts' campaign finance report filed September 7, 2018, indicated that the group raised $2.7 million since the campaign began in 2017. Of this, $1.8 million was raised in 2018.[21]

"Yes" was endorsed by the city councils of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Melrose, Arlington, Lexington,[22] and Northampton.[23] It was "wholeheartedly" endorsed by The Boston Globe newspaper,[24] and The Salem News also urged a "Yes" vote.[25]

Election result

The vote on November 6, 2018, affirmed the law,[26] 67.8 percent to 32.2 percent (1,781,041 to 846,804).[27]

Studies

Amira Hasenbush, Andrew R. Flores, and Jody L. Herman of the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law examined if there was a relationship between non-discrimination policies and sexual violence more locally within Massachusetts. They determined that citywide transgender anti-discrimination laws (passed by several cities before the 2016 anti-discrimination law was applied statewide) did not affect the rate of crimes reported in restrooms. They examined Massachusetts cities before and after they passed such laws as well as Massachusetts cities that never passed any such law. The study was published in Sexuality Research and Social Policy in July 2018.[28][29][30]

A 2013 study of transgender and gender-nonconforming adult residents of Massachusetts found that 65% of respondents had experienced discrimination in public accommodations (in some cases, regarding bathrooms) within the previous year.[31]

Polling

Date(s) conducted Yes No Undecided Lead Margin of error Sample Conducted by Method
October 25–28, 2018 68% 26% 7% 42% ± 4.4% 502 likely voters The MassINC Polling Group Landline and cell phone live interviews
October 24–27, 2018 68% 28% 4% 40% ± 4.4% 500 likely voters Suffolk University Political Research Center Landline and cell phone live interviews
September 13–17, 2018 73.2% 17.4% 9.2% 55.8% - 500 likely voters Suffolk University Political Research Center
June 14, 2018 48.8% 37.2% 14% 11.6% - 500 likely voters Suffolk University Political Research Center
May 22–26, 2018 52% 38% 11% 14% ± 4.4% 501 registered voters The MassINC Polling Group Landline and cell phone live interviews

See also

References

  1. ^ "Massachusetts Election Results". The New York Times. November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  2. ^ Gstalter, Morgan (November 6, 2018). "Massachusetts passes first statewide referendum protecting transgender rights". The Hill. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  3. ^ "Bill S.2407, 189th General Court (2015 - 2016) An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination". Massachusetts Legislature. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  4. ^ "MA Public Accommodations Q&A". GLAD: Legal Advocates and Defenders. 11 July 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Bathroom Law Repeal Effort Hits Its Mark". Keep MA Safe. 28 September 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  6. ^ Schoenberg, Shira (10 September 2018). "Transgender rights groups outspend opponents in Massachusetts ballot question fight". MassLive. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly say "yes" to transgender "bathroom" law. What happened?". MassResistance. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly say "yes" to transgender "bathroom" law. What happened?". MassResistance. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Massachusetts Businesses Say: Discrimination Hurts Our Bottom Line". Freedom for All Massachusetts. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Boston Children's Hospital Endorses Freedom For All Massachusetts Campaign!". Freedom For All Massachusetts. 1 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Massachusetts Faith Leaders for Freedom". Freedom For All Massachusetts. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Massachusetts Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Women's Organizations for Freedom". Freedom for All Massachusetts. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Massachusetts Higher Education for Freedom". Freedom for All Massachusetts. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Massachusetts Labor Unions for Freedom". Freedom for All Massachusetts. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Transgender Equality". ACLU Massachusetts. 2016-06-10. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Massachusetts Nonprofit and Advocacy Organizations for Freedom". Freedom For All Massachusetts. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  17. ^ Stahl, Shane (3 May 2018). "Freedom For All Massachusetts Launches Campaign to Defend Transgender Dignity at the Ballot in November". Freedom For All Massachusetts. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Massachusetts Mayors for Freedom". Freedom For All Massachusetts. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  19. ^ "Massachusetts Law Enforcement for Freedom". Freedom For All Massachusetts. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  20. ^ "About Freedom for All Massachusetts". Freedom For All Massachusetts. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  21. ^ Schoenberg, Shira (10 September 2018). "Transgender rights groups outspend opponents in Massachusetts ballot question fight". MassLive. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Cambridge City Council Backs Yes on 3 Campaign to Uphold Transgender Protections in Massachusetts". Freedom For All Massachusetts. 24 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  23. ^ Aresco, Nicholas (23 October 2018). "Northampton council supporting "Yes" on Question 3 to protect transgender individuals". WWLP. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Stand up for equality: Vote Yes on 3". The Boston Globe. 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Our view: Ballot questions will have wide impact". Salem News. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  26. ^ Creamer, Lisa (6 November 2018). "Mass. Votes 'Yes' On Question 3 To Keep Law Protecting Transgender People In Public Accommodations". WBUR. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  27. ^ "Massachusetts Ballot questions, 3 - Gender Identity Rights". The Boston Globe. November 8, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018. 100% reporting
  28. ^ Ebbert, Stephanie (12 September 2018). "Study finds no link between transgender rights law and bathroom crimes". Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  29. ^ "Gender-identity inclusive nondiscrimination laws do not jeopardize safety in public bathrooms". Williams Institute. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  30. ^ Hasenbush, Amira; Flores, Andrew; Herman, Jody (23 July 2018). "Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Laws in Public Accommodations: a Review of Evidence Regarding Safety and Privacy in Public Restrooms, Locker Rooms, and Changing Rooms". Sexuality Research and Social Policy: 1–14. doi:10.1007/s13178-018-0335-z. ISSN 1868-9884.
  31. ^ Reisner, SL; White, JM; Dunham, EE; Heflin, K; Begenyi, J; Cahill, S; The Project Voice Team. "Discrimination and Health in Massachusetts: A statewide survey of transgender and gender nonconforming adults (2014)" (PDF). Fenway Health. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
This page was last edited on 2 November 2019, at 02:12
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