[JURIST] The Massachusetts Legislature on Thursday sent a transgender anti-discrimination bill to Governor Charlie Baker [official website]. The bill [text, PDF], which many believe will be signed into law, will provide protections [MassLive report] to transgender people in places of public accommodation including public restrooms, restaurants and public transit, so long as they have a sincerely held gender identity and are not using their gender identity for improper reasons. The governor was previously against signing off on such a change, though he has since shown support for the law with inclusion of language directing the attorney general to provide guidance as to what legal action can brought for those using gender identity for an “improper purpose.” If passed, the law will take effect on October 1, after the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Attorney General [official websites] create appropriate regulatory guidelines, due by September 1.
Transgender access to public restrooms has been a controversial topic and has created a wave of legislative and judicial actions. In May the Obama administration issued guidance to schools on ensuring “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment,” prompting a lawsuit [JURIST report] by 11 states. Also in May the Florida American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the Marion County school district, challenging their bathroom policy as anti-transgender. The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in May challenging North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2.