Governor Charlie Baker said Monday there’s no room for anti-gay hatred in Massachusetts or anywhere in society, a day after a gunman, described as intolerant of gay people, killed at least 49 men and women at gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Baker said he spoke with his brother Alex, who is gay, and several friends who are gay and asked how they were feeling.
“The answer I got, which I think is pretty consistent with the response you get from anybody in the LGBT community at the moment, was, ‘I spend a lot of time thinking that things are getting better, and that things are improving, and then we all discover that there are some people who just hate because of who we are.’ And there’s no room for that here in the Commonwealth or anywhere in society,” Baker told reporters at the State House. “We should, of course, do all we can to resist that.”
Massachusetts State Police said Sunday that during his killing spree, Omar S. Mateen had referenced the Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, found to be the perpetrators of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, but that police had uncovered no local connection.
Baker reiterated that there’s no evidence of a link between the Orlando attack and the Massachusetts bombings which killed three people and injured more than 260.
“At this point in time, there’s no reason to believe that there’s much to that, other than that [Mateen] referenced it as something that had happened. It does not appear he has any direct connection to that at all,” Baker said.
The Republican governor also pushed back against besmirching the whole Muslim community after the attack, during which Mateen reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group.
“I think this guy, based on early reports, hated with extreme prejudice people who are part of the LGBT community,” the governor said, using an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. “I think to blame this all on — there are literally millions and millions of Muslims in the United States. ... I don’t think there’s any evidence that we should be applying a broad brush to any big religious organization or religious community based on the acts” of any one person.
Baker also emphasized that security has been increased across Massachusetts, particularly at transit hubs, such as Logan International Airport.
Daniel Bennett, secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, said the administration is “reaching out to the gay community” to provide assistance, work with them, and “make sure that we’re providing as much safety and security as we can.”
Listen to Baker speak to reporters at the State House: