Vargas: Uphold Equal Protection Under the Law Statewide, Vote Yes on 3

(File photograph)

Voters head to the polls to vote on a series of questions next month. (File photograph)

Ahead of the state election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, state Rep. Andy X. Vargas shares his thoughts with WHAV in a guest column about the ballot question.

Civil rights are on the ballot in Massachusetts this year. Voters will have the choice of setting the clock back or upholding the Commonwealth as a place of inclusion and equality.

Question 3 poses the threat of rolling back civil rights protections for our friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors who are transgender. Two years ago, the Massachusetts legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker enacted bipartisan legislation to prevent the discrimination and harassment of transgender people in public places. We should all take it upon ourselves to preserve these protections by ensuring that all our friends and family members vote Yes on 3.

The stakes of this question are tremendous. We’re talking about ensuring that all people in Massachusetts have equal protection under the law, whether they’re in a doctor’s office, restaurant, business, or any other public space.

Those advocating against Question 3 attempt to equate these protections with heighted criminal activity and sexual harassment in bathrooms. This is an unfortunate attempt that runs contrary to Massachusetts values and tries to dehumanize transgender people. In reality, studies have shown that there is no correlation between crimes that occur in bathrooms and anti-discrimination legislation like the bill passed by Massachusetts two years ago.

Since the passage of the public accommodations bill in 2016, there have been fewer incidents of privacy and safety violations. A ‘yes’ vote on Question 3 would continue the protection and safety of all residents in Massachusetts. That’s why the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and the Major Cities Chiefs are calling upon all of us to keep these protections in place. In fact, members of law enforcement were some of the earliest supporters.

We all have the responsibility to get involved and organize on this ballot measure and we shouldn’t take a presumed outcome for granted. We should all contact our friends, family members, and neighbors to let them know the importance of their vote. Let’s send a resounding message on Nov. 6 and uphold equal protection under the law for all in the Commonwealth.