The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber has joined a growing coalition of business organizations and employers supporting the “Yes on 3” ballot question campaign which seeks to uphold the state’s transgender nondiscrimination law.
“Repealing a law that protects the basic human rights of our transgender friends, neighbors, employees and customers isn’t just discriminatory, it undermines economic opportunity and job growth,” said Greg Reibman, president of the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber. “The more inclusive we are, the more productive we are.”
The chamber’s board voted unanimously to join the coalition at its September meeting; joining the Greater Boston Chamber, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Business Roundtable, MassBIO, Alliance for Business Leadership and many others in calling for a “yes” vote on question three on Nov. 6.
TripAdvisor, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, State Street, Biogen, EY, John Hancock, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, MassMutual, National Grid, Partners HealthCare, Putnam, and Bank of America are among the state’s many major employers who have also endorsed yes on question three.
“Ensuring that the places where we live and work, including our home state of Massachusetts, remain welcoming and inclusive to all, is essential to the success of our company, important to our employees and helps strengthen the businesses and communities we support,” said Beth Grous, Chief People Officer at TripAdvisor. “We firmly believe repealing the state’s transgender bill would make our state less open to all.”
In 2016, at the urging of civic, business and community leaders throughout the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts legislature passed – with a bipartisan, supermajority vote – the historic nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places.
Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill into law in July 2016. Shortly after it went into effect, a small group of opponents gathered the minimum number of signatures required to place the law on the ballot for repeal in November 2018.
“This law has made all public spaces, including the retailers we represent, safer for all people living and shopping in Massachusetts,” said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. “The small businesses that make up our association understand the importance of acceptance in our community. We are proud to support the Yes on 3 campaign.”
Massachusetts is the first state in the nation where transgender protections will be up for a vote on a statewide ballot measure. Currently, Massachusetts is among 19 states and more than 250 municipalities with nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places. The Massachusetts law also protects transgender people from discrimination in public restrooms and locker rooms.