A new poll has found a large majority
of Massachusetts voters support a transgender protections bill
currently being debated by the Legislature, gay weekly Bay
The poll of 400 voters found that 3 in
4 (76%) support the bill that bans discrimination against transgender
people in employment, housing and public accommodations. The poll
was conducted by Lake Research Partners and commissioned by a
coalition of over 70 Massachusetts civil rights organizations,
including the Massachusetts
chapter of the National Organization for Women, Massachusetts
Transgender Political Coalition, MassEquality,
and the gay marriage advocate group Gay
& Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).
“Voters understand discrimination and
don't want to see it allowed in the Commonwealth,” Rep. Carl
Sciortino, a Democrat and lead sponsor of the bill, told the paper.
“Legislators seriously underestimate their constituents if they
think voters don't get this.”
“It's time for Massachusetts to join
the 13 other states that ban discrimination against their transgender
citizens,” he added.
The poll also found that an
overwhelming majority (73%) of voters want their legislators to vote
in favor of the law.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a
long-time gay ally, says he supports the measure, calling it “a
very straightforward question of human and civil rights.”
But opponents of the bill say it should
be flushed down the toilet.
The anti-gay group Massachusetts Family
Institute has launched NoBathroomBill.com, a website devoted to its
opposition on the issue, and has purchased several media buys,
including a 30-second radio spot.
In the ad, the group warns that the
bill would invite sex offenders to lurk in public restrooms,
endangering public safety. An old argument that has echoed
throughout the U.S. as municipalities and states look to protect
“This is a bill that begins to
confuse the gender differences between men and women to the point of
trying to allow men to use women's restrooms, and, of course, that
means sexual predators going after young children,” Tom Minnery,
senior vice president of public policy at Focus on the Family Action,
said in a radio message urging North Dakota voters to oppose a
transgender protections bill.
“This is an invitation, it seems to
me, for people with predatory tendencies to come out and hide behind
the fact that they are having a transgender experience,” state Rep.
Peyton Hinkle, a Republican, said on the New Hampshire House floor
during debate on a similar bill that was ultimately approved by the
Rep. Sciortino dismissed such concerns,
telling the AP: “Anyone that uses a facility to commit a crime or
does something indecent can be prosecuted under current laws and this
bill does nothing to change that.”
Despite the poll's findings, the bill
remains stalled in the state's 17-member Judiciary Committee.