2018 Information For Voters

QUESTION 3: Referendum on an Existing Law

Transgender Anti-Discrimination

Do you approve of a law summarized below, which was approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate on July 7, 2016?


This law 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 are effective as of October 1, 2016. The remaining provisions are effective as of July 8, 2016.


A YES VOTE would keep in place the current law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in places of public accommodation.

A NO VOTE would repeal this provision of the public accommodation law.

See full text of Question 3


As required by law, statements of fiscal consequences are written by the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.

The proposed repeal of the existing law has no discernible material fiscal consequences for state and municipal government finances.


As provided by law, the 150-word arguments are written by proponents and opponents of each question, and reflect their opinions. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not endorse these arguments, and does not certify the truth or accuracy of any statement made in these arguments. The names of the individuals and organizations who wrote each argument, and any written comments by others about each argument, are on file in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

IN FAVOR: Vote YES to keep in place current law that:

  • Keeps Massachusetts welcoming and fair.
  • Prevents discrimination in places like stores, restaurants, and hospitals.
  • Protects transgender youth and adults.
  • Lets transgender people go about their daily lives, including in restrooms, which we all need to use.

We all value safety and privacy, including transgender people. This law has been in place for two years with no increase in public safety incidents. Harassing people remains illegal, and those who commit crimes are still prosecuted.

That’s why experts who support the law include:

  • Law enforcement, including the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police.
  • Women’s organizations and the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.
  • The Massachusetts Parent-Teacher Association.

Transgender people are our neighbors, coworkers, and friends who contribute to our thriving communities. A YES vote upholds basic values of fairness, dignity, and respect for all.

Susan Donnelly
Freedom for All Massachusetts

AGAINST: Voting NO repeals the “Bathroom Bill” law and prevents men from entering women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and intimate spaces. The law violates the privacy and safety of women by allowing any man identifying as a woman, including convicted sex offenders, to share women’s facilities. Under the law, any attempt to block a man from entering the women’s locker room, dressing room, or bathroom could result in individual penalties of up to $50,000 and a year in prison. Businesses are also affected, like a female spa owner who faced a discrimination claim for declining to wax the genitals of a man identifying as a woman. No law should make women and girls feel unsafe and exploit their privacy and security. The MA Legislature passed a law that goes too far, even refusing to include a provision to exclude convicted sex offenders. A NO vote protects women’s privacy and safety.

Debby Dugan
Keep MA Safe
400 TradeCenter, Suite 1950
Woburn, MA 01801