The Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts supports a vote of YES on statewide ballot Question 3 to uphold the 2016 law forbidding discrimination based on gender identity in places of public accommodation.
The Green Party Platform Section II (A) (5) recognizes “the rights of persons who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, trans-sexual, queer, or transgender” to be free from discrimination in “all areas of life.” Our history of being the first national political party to oppose discrimination based on gender identity stems from the Green Party’s Key Values of ‘Social Justice’ and ‘Respect for Diversity’. Based on these values, our platform further states that “the foundation of any democratic society is the guarantee that each member of society has equal rights.
Respect for our constitutionally protected rights is our best defense against discrimination and the abuse of power. Our Key Value --DIVERSITY -- commits us to the principle that all people deserve dignity, self-definition and self-determination” and that “we must consciously confront the barriers that include racism, sexism, homophobia, class oppression, and ageism, along with many other ways our culture impedes us from working together.” Our platform further states that “we support affirmative action to remedy discrimination, to protect constitutional rights, and to provide equal opportunity under the law.” With this in mind, the Green Party sees measures that discriminate against gender identity as harmful to all, and calls for any such discriminatory measures to be remedied with action. One of the actions we call for is to vote YES on Question 3.
The law which Question 3 addresses rightly added the words “gender identity” to a long list of protected categories of people who must not be discriminated against in places of public accommodation. The list includes religious sect, creed, class, race, color, denomination, sex, sexual orientation, and disability. The revised law has been in effect since 2016. There is no justification to now remove “gender identity” from this list and to blatantly legalize discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Some who want to overturn this law claim that banning discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people enables and encourages pedophiles and sexual predators. This is a patently false claim. The law specifically excludes pedophiles from the category of sexual orientations that are protected from discrimination. Laws against rape and sexual assault and other sexual crimes are still in effect and are not changed by this anti-discrimination law. Since the non-discrimination law was extended to include gender identity in 2016 there have been no incidences of the horror that opponents promised would ensue.
Some worry that adding legal protections for people based on gender identity will erode protections based on sex that have been won for women through many decades of struggle. We believe that this worry is unwarranted as the anti-discrimination law in question continues to forbid discrimination based on sex as well as discrimination based on gender identity. The new law merely added gender identity to the list of factors on which we must not discriminate. The new law did not legalize discrimination against people based on any of the factors already included in the old law.
In summation, we urge everyone to vote YES on ballot Question 3. Every person deserves the right to use public bathrooms, and everyone deserves to be free from discrimination and have their identity respected in all areas of life.