Massachusetts passes law protecting trans residents

Today in Boston, a ceremony marked a newly passed MA state law which prohibits discrimination against transgender residents in employment, housing, insurance and credit.

Governor Deval Patrick told a crowded Statehouse ceremony on Thursday that he was happy to approve the bill as a “matter of conscience” in order to protect the rights and dignity of an estimated 33,000 transgender citizens in Massachusetts.

The law also extends the state’s hate crime laws to cover transgender people. Attorney General Martha Coakley said her office was ready to enforce the new law, adding that she hopes it won’t often be necessary. There is a long-standing debate about the impact of hate crimes legislation.  see here for an analysis opposing such legislation.

That said, in a time when (trigger warning) some legislators are saying hateful and horrible things about trans folks, such legislation is promising and marks a move toward important legal protections.

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