After being stalled for four years, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary voted today to pass a bill creating a special status for transgender people in housing, employment and “hate crimes.”
The bill — H 3810 — does not include special considerations gender-confused people in public accommodations, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, but gay activists said in a news release that will be the next step, should it eventually receive the governor’s signature. At press time, the bill was pending in the House Ways and Means Committee, with a floor vote coming anytime within the next 24 hours.
“It has to be done by tomorrow, because that’s the end of the fall session,” said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute. “They’re trying to railroad it through, and we’re trying to delay it. Right now, it is a win for us even if it passes, because we did get public accommodations language taken out of the bill.”
Massachusetts already has laws prohibiting hate crimes and discrimination in housing and employment. That being the case, several legislators spoke against the bill, noting the redundancy and pointing out that it will eventually hurt small businesses by making them targets for lawsuits waged by people who’ve lost or been turned down for jobs.
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