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Mayors Try to Stop Massachusetts Voters From Voiding Trans Protections

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

Members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors are standing behind the state's law, which is subject to a repeal vote this fall.

Members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors agreed Sunday to fight to uphold Massachusetts's law banning discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations.

A ballot measure to repeal the law will be put before voters in November. More than 300 mayors from around the nation, meeting in Boston, pledged to campaign against repeal, forming a bipartisan coalition called the Mayors for Freedom Coalition of the Freedom for All Massachusetts, the Associated Press reports.

"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," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Sunday at the gathering, according to the AP. "In that time, we have become a more welcoming and inclusive city for our transgender friends and neighbors."

Massachusetts passed the law in 2016, and it went into effect in October of that year. The state already banned anti-transgender discrimination in employment, but the 2016 legislation added public accommodations, assuring trans people's right to use the public restrooms and locker rooms of their choice.

Opponents of the law have stoked fear that sexual predators would be enabled by the measure, although any assaults committed in restrooms remain illegal. A group called Keep MA Safe gathered enough petition signatures to put a repeal of the law on the ballot this fall.

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