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October 12, 2016

Defending the MA Transgender Public Accommodations Law

Statement of Jennifer Levi, Transgender Rights Project Director, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders

This week, opponents of legal protections for transgender people in Massachusetts waged two attacks on the recently enacted law.  Jennifer Levi issued the following statement on the anti-transgender ballot initiative, and the lawsuit challenging the law filed by Alliance Defending Freedom:

While opponents have gathered signatures sufficient to put a repeal measure on the 2018 ballot, the broad coalition of transgender people, family members, businesses, faith leaders and other fair-minded Massachusetts residents who fought for and support this law are ready to ensure its important protections are upheld. Meanwhile, the law remains in effect, and we are committed to making sure it works as the legislature intended – to provide fair and commonsense non-discrimination protections for transgender people in public spaces.

The ADF lawsuit has been filed as part of a nationwide effort to roll back protections that the transgender community has fought so long to secure. This effort to halt enforcement of the law is without legal merit. It is premised on baseless, shameless fearmongering, and it mischaracterizes the reach of the law.

Protections for religious individuals and for churches are important, and are built into the Massachusetts non-discrimination law. There’s nothing about adding transgender people to its protections that changes that. 

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Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.