State lawmakers debate over transgender protections bill

The state legislature rejected a similar bill last year

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Transgender people want equal access to public spaces. To put that into perspective, it’s currently against the law for an employer to refuse to hire a person based on their gender identity. They can, however, deny service to transgender individuals.

Governor Charlie Baker told reporters this week that he prefers the law the way it’s written now. He said, “I think we shouldn’t discriminate against anybody and the devil’s always in the details on this stuff.”

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow people equal access to public spaces, regardless of whether they identify as a man or a woman. These public accommodations include: restaurants, hospitals and buses. Many conservative lawmakers are concerned when it comes to public locker rooms and restrooms.

“Children, women, men all have an expectation and a right to privacy in restrooms, locker rooms,” said State Rep. Jim Lyons (R-Andover).

Attorney General Maura Healey argues these public accommodations have not led to any crimes – not here or anywhere in the country. “Extending protections to transgender people in places of accommodation does not present a public safety issue, nor have such protections been used as an excuse to engage in unlawful conduct,” said AG Healey.

There’s growing support for the transgender community in both the House and Senate, but it’s important to note that similar legislation failed just last year.

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