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Mayors across nation form coalition to support transgender anti-discrimination law

This file photo shows drag queens in pink wigs walking in the 37th Annual Provincetown Carnival Parade in Provincetown, Massachusetts. (Cindy Goff/Getty Images)

Mayors from across the country met in Boston this weekend and announced they are forming a coalition to support Massachusetts’ transgender anti-discrimination law.

The coalition is called Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination and includes a total of 320 mayors and town managers nationally, the New York Times reported.

“The Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination coalition is committed to ensuring basic protections so that all people are treated fairly, no matter who they are or where they live,” the coalition said in a prepared joint statement. “As mayors, we uniquely know the importance of moving forward to strengthen communities and provide a welcoming, safe environment for all neighbors and businesses, and we oppose any ballot measure that would take the state backwards by removing critical protections.”

Why are the mayors doing this?

The mayors made the announcement amid plans for a November ballot question to revoke the law, according to the report.

Massachusetts is one of 19 states with nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places. Protected areas include "medical offices, restaurants, and shops, public restrooms and locker rooms," the Times reported.

Last week, New Hampshire enacted a similar measure.

The Times named the following Massachusetts mayors as participants:

Martin J. Walsh of Boston; Kim Driscoll of Salem; Daniel Rivera of Lawrence; Paul Heroux of Attleboro; Alex Morse of Holyoke; Robert Dolan of Melrose; Jon Mitchell of New Bedford; Ruthanne Fuller of Newton; David Narkewicz of Northampton; Linda Tyer of Pittsfield; Joseph Curtatone of Somerville; Domenic Sarno of Springfield; Marc McGovern of Cambridge; and Joseph Petty of Worcester.

“Supporting this law is simply the right thing to do,” Walsh said in a statement. “This law has been in place in Massachusetts for two years with no issues, and a similar local ordinance has been in place in Boston for more than a decade. In that time, we have become a more welcoming and inclusive city for our transgender friends and neighbors. We can’t take a step backwards.”

Why is there a Novemeber ballot question on this?

The ballot question was brought forth by a group called Keep MA Safe, the Times reported. The question asks voters if the transgender anti-discrimination law should continue or be revoked. The group has also advocated for safety due to the possibility of having people of different genders in public bathrooms.

Co-chairs for the Mayors Against LGBT Coalition are Muriel Bowser of the District of Columbia, Jenny Durkan of Seattle, Sly James of Kansas City, Mo., and Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, according to the Times.

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