Is Legislative Support For Massachusetts Transgender Bathroom Bill Veto Proof?
The Massachusetts House is expected next Wednesday to follow the lead of the Senate in passing a transgender rights bill that offers protections to the transgender community while also allowing people to use public facilities that match their gender identity rather than their biological sex. The big question is whether the House vote would be veto proof.
The Senate voted 33-4 to approve the transgender rights bill but the vote next week in the House is expected to be tighter and as a result the leadership has begun canvassing members to see whether or not it would be a large enough margin to override a veto by Governor Baker. Baker has yet to say whether he plans to sign the bill, the final details of which have yet to be ironed out by lawmakers. A host of amendments are anticipated as debate begins next week. State Representative Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford) tells me he will base his vote on the level of protection offered to potential victims of abuse of the law.
Judging by the number of calls to my program on this topic there appears to be a lot of opposition to this proposed law. A Boston Globe/Suffolk University Poll disagrees saying only 51 percent of Massachusetts residents oppose it, down from 64 percent in November.
Meanwhile, eleven states have now filed suit challenging the Obama Administration's recent directive to school districts across the country telling them to open their bathrooms, gyms, showers and locker rooms to people based upon the gender they identify with rather than what is on their birth certificate. The administration says that while the directive is not backed with the force of law it would consider Justice Department reviews of districts that refuse to comply and is threatening to withhold Title Nine education grant money from those communities.
Stay tuned as this is about to get a whole lot more interesting.