The Massachusetts House late on Tuesday
approved a bill that bars discrimination in the workplace against
transgender people, the AP reported.
After an hour-long debate, lawmakers
approved the bill with a 95 to 58 vote and sent it to the Senate,
which is expected to take up the measure on Wednesday.
A public accommodations section of the
bill which has previously proved controversial was dropped from the
bill two days ago, a concession designed to boost lawmaker support.
Critics argued that such protections
would hurt women and children.
“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,” said Kris Mineau,
president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, a group that opposes
The bill would also amend the state's
existing hate crime laws to include gender identity and expression.
“Transgender individuals in
Massachusetts face unacceptably high levels of violence and
discrimination in their daily lives,” state Rep. Carl Sciortino, a
co-sponsor of the bill, told ABC News. “This is a community that
has disproportionally high levels of not only discrimination, but
This is the first time the bill has
made it to a vote since first being introduced in 2007.
According to a 2011 study by the
Williams Institute, roughly 33,000 people in Massachusetts identify
Governor Deval Patrick has said he
would sign the bill into law, if approved by lawmakers.