Boston – The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts (WBA) held its 18th Annual Legislative Breakfast in the Great Hall of the State House this morning, during which state Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) was recognized for his sponsorship of one of their 2011 legislative priorities, An Act relative to gender identity.
This Act, Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011, was signed into law by Governor Patrick on November 23rd. Senator Downing served as one of four primary sponsors of the proposal. These four legislators (Downing, state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, state Representative Carl Sciortino and state Representative Bryon Rushing) were recognized by WBA President Nancy Cremins for their advocacy, leadership and efforts to secure its passage during this morning’s event.
An Act relative to gender identityadds “gender identity” to existing Massachusetts civil rights laws, which currently prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, and marital status in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit. The Act also adds offenses regarding gender identity to the list of offenses that are subject to treatment as hate crimes in the Commonwealth.