A bill that seeks to broaden
Massachusetts laws banning discrimination in public accommodations to
include gender identity cleared the Massachusetts House on Wednesday.
House members approved House Bill 735
with a 116-36 vote.
The Massachusetts Senate approved a
similar bill last month.
The measure comes as 12 states fight a
directive from the Obama administration advising schools to allow
transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice and as North
Carolina resists pressure to repeal a first-in-the-nation law that
bars transgender people from using the bathroom that they identify
with in government buildings, including schools.
“Today, Massachusetts has bucked a
national trend of legislative attacks against the transgender
community and offered a simple but powerful acknowledgment to
transgender young people, adults and our families: That we are human
beings, worthy of respect and deserving of equal protection under
law,” Casey Suffredini, co-chair of Freedom Massachusetts, which
supports passage, is quoted as saying by the Washington
Republican Governor Charlie Baker said
on Tuesday that he will sign the bill into law.
“No one should be discriminated
against in Massachusetts because of their gender identity,” Baker
said in a statement. “I would sign the House version in its
current form should it reach my desk.”
Baker had come under fire for his tepid
support of the legislation.
Eighteen states, plus the District of
Columbia, have approved similar protections based on gender identity.