Mass. Senate to debate transgender rights bill on Thursday

There are an estimated 33,000 transgender people in Massachusetts

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Senate is gearing up for a controversial vote Thursday. Senate bill 735 would ban discrimination against transgender people in public places, and would allow them to use the restroom of their choice. Governor Charlie Baker refused to reveal his stand on the bill when 22News asked him about it on Monday.

He said, “I’m not going to speak to the particulars of a specific piece of legislation until it gets to my desk.”

The Massachusetts Family Institute is opposed to allowing transgender people to use locker rooms and restrooms they feel most comfortable using. They believe such a law would put women and children in danger.

Pittsfield State Senator Ben Downing disagrees. Senator Downing argues that sexual assault is illegal, regardless of whether the person is a man, woman or transgender.

“If someone walks into a bathroom or any other public accommodation no matter the gender identity and assaults someone, that’s illegal today. It would be illegal tomorrow if Governor Baker signs this bill into law,” he said.

The state Senate will likely take up the transgender rights bill on Thursday, and a lengthy debate is expected.

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