Transgender Bill Passes House Despite Republican Opposition

By Sarah Birnbaum & Wires

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Nov. 16, 2011

BOSTON — Despite a press conference set up by House freshman Republicans to express their opposition to a bill designed to protect transgender individuals against workplace discrimination, the bill passed the House Tuesday by a 95-58 vote.

At the Nov. 15 press conference, Republican Rep. Marc Lombardo of Billerica said the bill would be bad for business.

"In other states, similar legislation as the transgender rights bill in front of us today have resulted in expensive discrimination lawsuits against small businesses," Lombardo said.
 
Or consider this scenario, he said: “Let’s say you own a women's-only gym — we know we have those in Massachusetts — and today, a male is identifying himself as a female. Your female customers who chose your gym because of the women-only atmosphere, now they take their business elsewhere because they no longer feel comfortable."
 
The Nov. 15 vote followed an hour-long debate. Lawmakers had earlier agreed to cut off debate at 8:50 p.m., meaning many proposed amendments could not be considered.

The bill has been languishing in the Legislature for 6 years. It now moves on to the Senate. Gov. Deval Patrick has said he would sign the bill.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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