While it is impossible to imagine a scenario in which Beacon Hill passes a discriminatory bill as vile as the one North Carolina passed, not doing something wrong isn't enough. On the issue of transgender rights, it must do the right thing.
Speaking before the Boston Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, state Senate President Stanley Rosenberg urged a vote on the state's transgender rights bill that has been stuck in the Judiciary Committee since last year. The legislation would provide protection for transgender people using public accommodations and would allow them to use public restrooms associated with their gender identity. This is similar to the benign law passed in Charlotte, North Carolina that frightened the Legislature and governor into passing and signing a discriminatory law that is hurting the North Carolina economy.
The Boston Chamber of Commerce joins Mr. Rosenberg in supporting the state's transgender rights law, and it is noteworthy that opposition to North Carolina's law is coming not just from Democrats and gay rights groups but from business groups and companies within the state. The law has already cost the state jobs and business.
It's welcome when business shows a social conscience as it has obvious influence, but corporations aren't going to do anything that jeopardizes their bottom line. Their recent outspokenness on social issues like LGBT rights probably speaks to the impact of the growing and increasingly influential millennial generation (see editorial above).
Americans in their 20s and 30s grew up during the waging and winning of a variety of gay rights battles, manifested in the right to marry, to serve openly in the military and to be protected from workplace discrimination. They aren't burdened with the prejudices of their elders and won't tolerate discrimination. Companies that want to employ and sell to millennials not only can't afford to discriminate they are wise to be on the front lines of anti-discrimination efforts.
It is regrettable that Governor Baker was booed off the stage during Boston Spirit Magazine's LGBT Executive Networking Night Wednesday because he has not endorsed the transgender rights bill. Mr. Baker has a solid record on gay rights and bullying is wrong regardless of the cause. We do, however, hope he will sign the bill should lawmakers get it to him in the weeks ahead. There is no good argument against a bill which has sat in committee for too long.