Conservative activists have begun an effort to repeal a law that protects transgender people’s rights in public places a month after Governor Charlie Baker signed the bill — and they are led by Chanel Prunier, the state’s former national Republican committeewoman.
A committee called Keep MA Safe hopes to push forward a November 2018 ballot question that would repeal the new law, which allows transgender people to use bathrooms in public facilities that match their gender identity and protects transgender people from discrimination in museums, malls, libraries, restaurants, and other public accommodations.
“Governor Baker signed into law a bill that eliminates the right to privacy and safety in public restrooms, locker-rooms, showers and changing facilities,” the group says on its website. “We think that’s bad for Massachusetts, particularly for the millions of women and children who are likely to be most affected by it.”
The committee needs 32,375 certified signatures by Oct. 6 in order to have their question considered for the 2018 ballot. According to Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute — a group supporting the referendum effort — the committee only recently began its petition drive because it was waiting on petitions from the secretary of state’s office. The committee, he said, is “definitely acting with a sense of urgency.”
Prunier, who represents the party’s most conservative wing, lost her position as national committeewoman this spring after running for reelection.
Baker did not endorse Prunier, instead backing state Representative Keiko Orrall. Prunier said she has been a supporter of Baker, but hasn’t interacted with him much since March. On his signing of the transgender public accommodations bill, Prunier wrote in an email she had hoped he would veto it.
“Governor Baker is bowing to pressure from liberal elites and the politically correct crowd,” she wrote.
Baker has said he does not want any residents of Massachusetts to be discriminated against.