Massachusetts Senate OKs transgender rights bill; Governor promises to sign

Staff Reports

BOSTON — The Transgender Equal Rights Bill — which had passed the Massachusetts House on Tuesday night with a 95-58 vote — cleared the state’s Senate on Wednesday with Senators approving the measure on a voice vote with no opposition.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Democratic Governor Deval Patrick reaffirmed his promise to sign the measure.

Patrick told reporters, “I think we have hate crimes on the books today. They, in the case of transgender people, don’t go far enough.”

According to Gay and Lesbian Advocates, a New England LGBTQ equality rights organization, the bill would “provide essential protections for the transgender community in employment, education, and in situations where people face hate-based violence.”

However, the bill does not provide protections in “public accommodations” such as public restrooms, a concession designed to bolster support among lawmakers.

GLA also noted that while Massachusetts was the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry in 2004, the transgender equality rights bill had languished in the legislature in various forms for six years.

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