North Carolina's disgraceful law undermining the civil rights of transgender residents puts the focus on a Massachusetts bill that does the opposite. It deserves passage.
The Transgender Public Accommodation Bill protects transgender people from being discriminated against in all public places. The North Carolina's "bathroom law" assumes that residents need protection from transgender residents, but it is the other way around. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey met with transgender youth and their families earlier this month to learn about the discrimination and harassment they face.
The bill, which has been endorsed by a variety of Massachusetts corporations, has been stuck in the House for reasons that are unclear. Governor Baker, who opposed the 2012 Transgender Equal Rights Act (which didn't address public places) when he was running for governor as an arch-conservative, should support it now as a governor elected as a moderate, but he has been noncommittal.
There is no reason to oppose this bill in a state that presumably is not subject to the bigotry that plagues North Carolina. Happily, the North Carolina attorney general says he will not enforce the law or defend it against lawsuits.
Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, writing this week about the need to address easy problems so the nation can focus on difficult ones, observes that the electorate should not "...be distracted by such quandaries as where a transsexual empties his or her bladder. Here's an action plan for you: If you're a transsexual woman or a man, use the restroom that corresponds to your chosen sex. Your privates are no one's business. There, that was easy."
It is that easy. The Legislature should pass the Transgender Public Accommodations Bill and Governor Baker should sign it into law.