This article first appeared on November 6, 2018, in Political Research Associates.
On November 6, Massachusetts voters will decide several ballot measures, including Question 3, which asks voters to overturn public accommodations protections in the Bay State based on gender identity. Despite the Commonwealth having some of the strongest protections for LGBTQ people in the nation, the Massachusetts legislature waited nearly 30 years after protecting its residents against discrimination based on sexual orientation to pass the same protections against discrimination based on gender identity. Finally enacted in 2016, “An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination” protects transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people in Massachusetts from discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodation, meaning spaces accessible to the public such as libraries, restaurants, shops, stadiums, hospitals, banks, etc. And it is the latter protections that Question 3 seeks to overturn.
The group behind the ballot measure, the Massachusetts Family Institute, and Keep Massachusetts Safe, the campaign chaired by the Institute’s President Andrew Beckwith, are closely partnered with Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council (FRC), and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), national organizations that have taken a unified stance against protections for LGBTQ people. The Family Research Council lists the Massachusetts Family Institute as its state-level coalition partner in the Commonwealth. And, FRC has advocated for the Massachusetts Family Institute’s opposition to Question 3 on their social media accounts.
The Massachusetts Family Institute is also a member of the Family Policy Alliance, Focus on the Family’s national network of conservative Christian-right state groups. According to Media Matters, the Family Policy Alliance donated $10,000 to Keep Massachusetts Safe, the Massachusetts Family Institute’s Question 3 campaign organization. The Family Policy Institute is also supporting the campaign on its website and in its newsletter.
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