Last night the Massachusetts House voted 95-58 to protect transgender residents from employment discrimination. As you’ll see below, it’s not a total win, but it’s something.
The vote followed an hour-long debate. Lawmakers had earlier agreed to cut off the debate at 8:50 p.m., meaning many proposed amendments could not be considered. The bill was criticized by House Republicans as unnecessary and anti-business but was defended by supporters as an important addition to the state’s civil rights laws. The vote came two days after supporters agreed to drop a public accommodations section of the bill that critics said would lead to a breakdown in privacy in rest rooms, locker rooms and other single-gender facilities.
As we saw everywhere else, anti-gay Christian activists raised the specter of rapist men in dresses invading the ladies room. After last night’s vote, one said: “It’s a victory for the safety, privacy and modesty of women and children who expect to be safe and secure in public bathrooms in the commonwealth.” Governor Deval Patrick says he’ll sign the bill if it reaches his desk.