The 2018 Midterms are quickly approaching, and in Massachusetts there are 3 ballot questions that will move the state in the direction the voters see fit. Ballot question number three regards the civil rights of transgender people in America.
“An Act Relative To Transgender Anti-Discrimination” went into effect on October 7, 2016, and it is up to the voters of Massachusetts to decide whether to keep or veto the Senate Bill. The 2016 law, also known as Senate Bill 2407, “adds gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in places of public accommodation, resort, or amusement”, according to the official site for the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The aforementioned list includes ancestry, disability, sex, national origin, religious creed, color, and race. A “yes” vote on this ballot question will keep in place the current law, while a “no” vote will repeal it.
Backing for the “yes” vote is very high in Massachusetts at the moment, with a number of notable supporters taking part in the political advocacy coalition known as Freedom For All Massachusetts. These supporters include all New England professional sports teams, Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation.
Meanwhile, an organization known as Keep MA Safe has been actively advocating for a “no” vote on question 3, in hope to veto the referendum. Many who oppose question 3 do so based on safety, and see the possibility of a sexual predator using a women’s bathroom under the guise of “transgender” as an all too real threat. The advocacy group thanks the “hundreds of volunteers” who helped to provide the over 32,000 signatures required to ensure that question 3 made it onto the ballot.
Junior James Holmes, who uses the singular pronouns they/them/theirs, expressed their worry over Instagram, stating, “If protection laws for transgender people in Massachusetts are lost, other states may try to get rid of them too. Many people aren’t worried about this because Massachusetts is fairly liberal, but if not everyone votes, things could go the wrong way, and anti-discrimination laws in more conservative parts of the country will be at jeopardy. This vote is like a test to see where people are standing.”
Sophomore Christian Mack also expressed his concern and hopes regarding the midterm. He claims, “I feel scared that this question could have even been posed, but seeing the younger generations come together and support each other is extremely progressive and heartwarming.”
The Massachusetts Midterms will take place on Tuesday, November 6th, and only by voting can citizens make sure that laws Massachusetts accurately reflect the beliefs of the public.
By Maeve Cawley