Mass. Statehouse / Getty Images
Mass. Statehouse / Getty Images

The sickening pandering by our public officials continues unabated as government crawls deeper and deeper into our bedrooms and now our bathrooms too.

The Massachusetts Legislature has passed a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender individuals in public places, including bathrooms. Governor Charlie Baker says he will sign the bill into law.  Lawmakers insist such protections are needed but last time I looked it was already illegal to discriminate against anyone based on race, religion, creed, sex, sexual identity or for any other reason. Laws such as this one are feel good, political hack jobs to benefit only the political hacks.  This law has less to do with protections than pandering to a powerful special interest group with an agenda.

Representative Paul Scmid, (D-Westport), actually told me that current law permits discrimination against transgender people but when pressed to site chapter and verse he could not.  Schmid dared to compare the need for this law to Constitutional Amendments to free black slaves and to allow women to vote. He also said that people in New Bedford need to understand how shared bathrooms in Boston have been widely accepted for several years.  I think Rep. Schmid needs to be more concerned about how his constituents in New Bedford feel about this issue. This issue is not about civil rights, though it does infringe upon the civil rights of some who seek nothing more than to protect their privacy.

What is most striking about all of this, beside a blatant ignorance of the existing law, is that lawmakers have passed a bill with no enforcement rules or regulations for those  who might seek to take advantage of it by violating the rights of unsuspecting women and children.  The bill passed by the House instructs the Attorney General to come up with guidance for enforcement.  Isn't that the role of the lawmaker?  The Senate version doesn't even go that far. The Legislature has passed a bill with no enforcement rules and regulations and the Governor says he will sign it. Amazing.

Most of our delegation supported the legislation. Only Dartmouth's Chris Markey, Fall River's Alan Sylvia, Lakeville's Keiko Orrall and Taunton's Shaunna O'Connell had the guts to say no to the special interests but their amendments providing for stronger enforcement were defeated one after the other by the leadership.

The sad part is that the entire delegation is unopposed this Fall.


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