Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was booed off stage Wednesday after he declined to say whether or not he would sign a transgender rights bill making its way through the legislature.
Appearing as the keynote speaker at an LGBT networking event hosted by Boston Spirit magazine, Baker rankled the crowd by saying “I will make sure I talk to all parties involved before we make any decision,” The Boston Globe reported
That wasn’t good enough for many in the crowd, who shouted at the Republican governor to “sign the bill” before he left to a chorus of boos.
The bill would allow people to use restrooms consistent with their gender identities and prevent people from refusing service to someone based on a person's gender identity, CNN noted
On Thursday, Baker, who is known as a supporter of same-sex marriage, defended himself, saying he never comments on pending legislation and that he is against discrimination.
“He supports the 2011 legislation that expanded protections to transgender individuals and looks forward to reviewing additional legislation should it reach his desk,” Baker’s press secretary Lizzy Guyton told Boston.com.
Lorelei Erisis, a transgender resident in attendance, said Baker’s speech was tone deaf, the Boston Herald reported
“Forget trans people, this is an LGBT event and he barely even mentioned LGB issues, never mind the public access issue,” Erisis said. “He talked about the MBTA, he talked about his success with the opioid issues, which are all very important issues for him to be working on, but they are not necessarily relevant to this room full of rainbow flags. His silence to us is a de facto promise that he will veto. I hoped to be a Gov. Baker fan. I wanted to be optimistic.”
Supporters of the bill include Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, and a group of 43 companies and business groups that signed a letter of support, the Herald noted.
CommonWealth Magazine said
Baker “has been firmly planted on the fence.”
Twitter users reacted strongly to Baker’s noncommittal response.
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