Massachusetts voters overwhelming agree to keep pro-transgender bathroom, locker room laws

Massachusetts voters overwhelming agree to keep pro-transgender bathroom, locker room laws
Actress and activist Laverne Cox was among those who campaigned for a "yes" vote. (Natasha Moustache/Getty Images)

Massachusetts voters approved a measure to uphold a law that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in public spaces, including bathrooms and locker rooms.

On Tuesday, nearly 68 percent voted “yes” on Question 3, which upheld Senate Bill 2407, the pro-transgender law that went into effect in October 2016. The state is considered to be one of the most LGBT-friendly states in the nation.

Under the law, anyone who attempts to stop any man who identifies as a woman from entering women’s facilities could result in penalties of up to $50,000 and a year in prison, Debby Dugan of Keep MA Safe wrote as part of the argument for repealing Senate Bill 2407.

What did supporters of Question 3 say?

Transgender activist and actress Lavene Cox, known for her role in the Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black,” was among those who campaigned for a “yes” vote.

“Thank you Massachusetts. So much love and respect for you! #YesOn3,” Cox tweeted Tuesday after its approval.

Many feared that transgenders protections might be rolled back. Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of national LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, said the decision was a huge relief to activists across the nation.

“Voters in Massachusetts made history tonight and sent a clear message that transgender rights are human rights,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “The personal stories of so many transgender people in Massachusetts coupled with support from allies in business, faith communities, sports, and so many areas of the state, shattered stereotypes and sparked this historic show of acceptance.”

What did opponents say?

Opponents who have worked to repeal the 2016 law since it was passed were disappointed in the outcome of the vote that they believe puts women and children at risk of predators.

“We are deeply disappointed that the people of Massachusetts will continue to be forced to sacrifice their privacy and safety in the name of political correctness,” Andrew Beckwith of Keep MA Safe told the AP. “Our commitment to defending the fundamental rights to privacy and safety, particularly for women and children, will not change. We will move forward, developing other strategies to protect the rights of those who are negatively affected by this law.”