Massachusetts Medical Society: MMS position on Ballot Question 3 on Repeal of Prohibition against Discrimination of Transgender Individuals

MMS position on Ballot Question 3 on Repeal of Prohibition against Discrimination of Transgender Individuals

MA Ballot Question 3 seeks to repeal Chapter 134 of the Acts of 2016, which prohibits discrimination against transgender individuals.  

The Massachusetts Medical Society supports “yes” on MA Question 3 to retain transgender discrimination laws.

This law as currently in place adds gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in places of public accommodation, resort, or amusement. Such grounds also include race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, disability, and ancestry. A “place of public accommodation, resort or amusement” is defined in existing law as any place that is open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public, such as hotels, stores, restaurants, theaters, sports facilities, and hospitals. “Gender identity” is defined as a person’s sincerely held gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not it is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.

This law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in a person’s admission to or treatment in any place of public accommodation. The law requires any such place that has separate areas for males and females (such as restrooms) to allow access to and full use of those areas consistent with a person’s gender identity. The law also prohibits the owner or manager of a place of public accommodation from using advertising or signage that discriminates on the basis of gender identity. 

This law directs the state Commission Against Discrimination to adopt rules or policies and make recommendations to carry out this law. The law also directs the state Attorney General to issue regulations or guidance on referring for legal action any person who asserts gender identity for an improper purpose.

The provisions of this law governing access to places of public accommodation went into effective as of October 1, 2016. The remaining provisions were effective as of July 8, 2016.

A yes vote on Question 3 keeps in place current law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in places of public accommodation.

MMS policies on nondiscrimination:

The MMS reaffirms its commitment to working for the best possible health care for every patient in the Commonwealth regardless of racial identification, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, disability, immigration status, or economic status. (HP)


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