Tuesday’s defeat of the Houston Bathroom Bill was a huge victory for family values. Our family policy counterpart in the Lone Star State, Texas Values, helped lead the charge that saw the Bathroom Bill go down 62% to 38%. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz over the past several years. We’ve helped each other strategize, as we both faced similar issues despite our very different political environments.
Last week, the MA Attorney General, Maura Healey, issued a letter to legislators, largely responding to MFI’s critiques of the Bathroom Bill. She writes the following:
“Finally, some have invoked the privacy rights of other patrons as a ‘competing’ consideration. Fundamentally, I believe these purported privacy concerns are simply reflective of a certain discomfort with transgender people. Discomfort is not a reason to perpetuate discrimination or prejudice borne by lack of understanding or familiarity with transgender people.”
That’s right, the chief attorney for our Commonwealth thinks that if you are not comfortable with your wives and daughters undressing in the presence of naked men, who claim they believe themselves to be women, you are just “prejudiced” and “lack understanding.” See how NECN Broadside host Sue O’Connell responds when I ask her if she’d be comfortable with her daughter changing alongside Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner. Do you agree?
Fortunately, Governor Baker is continuing to signal that he sees no need for a Bathroom Bill. State House News quoted him Tuesday as saying, “I don’t believe anybody should be discriminated against, and if anybody is we have a court system in Massachusetts that I believe can stand up for them.” This is consistent with what I’ve been explaining to legislators: transgender discrimination claims in public accommodations are, for better or worse, already being aggressively prosecuted by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). This new legislation really is intended to change the situation in bathrooms and locker rooms.
Please continue to make your voices heard on Beacon Hill. It’s critical to contact your legislator NOW, because the session will recess before the month is over, and if we can stop the Bathroom Bill from coming out of committee in November, it won’t have a chance to resurface until 2016.