The right to protest is fundamental in a nation that cherishes free speech, but that right doesn't excuse irresponsibility on the part of protesters.
The Massachusetts Family Institute came to Beacon Hill Thursday to protest the transgender rights bill the House may vote on next week. MFI Executive Director Andrew Beckwith complained about the "radical and extreme agenda" of the bill's advocates, but there is nothing radical or extreme about legislation that enshrines protection against discrimination for a small segment of the population that is routinely bullied and harassed.
The MFI and others on the extreme right peddle the fiction that transgender rights laws enable men to invade women's restrooms. There is no instance of this happening on the public record. The fact is there is nothing to prevent men from invading women's restrooms now, so anti-transgender worrywarts are fretting about a practice that isn't guarded against because it is not an issue.
It is regrettable that so many MFI protesters dragged children along to their Beacon Hill event. The kids don't know any better and it is shameful that their minds are being poisoned by the fear and bigotry of their elders.
The state Senate has easily passed the transgender rights bill but House Speaker Robert DeLeo is stalling as the session winds down. The House should pass the bill next week and put the pressure on Governor Charlie Baker, who has been checking which way the wind is blowing from the sidelines. It is hard to believe that the governor would veto the bill and turn Massachusetts into a pariah like North Carolina. Transgender people have rights, just as do the protesters who inexplicably abhor them, and Beacon Hill should assure that those rights are defined and protected.