Metro

Advocates rally to support transgender law

A flag representing the transgender community, right, flies next to the Massachusetts state flag, left, and an American flag, behind, in front of Boston City Hall, Monday, May 2, 2016, in Boston. Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a supporter of transgender rights, said Monday the flag will continue to fly until everyone is equal under the law in Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/AP/file
A flag representing the transgender community (right) flew in front of Boston City Hall in May.

Advocates of a new law that aims to protect transgender people from discrimination in malls, restaurants, and other public accommodations vowed Thursday to fight two potent new efforts to roll back the protections.

“Fairness and equality are the law in Massachusetts,” said Mason Dunn, co-chair of Freedom Massachusetts, the main coalition that pushed for the new protections. “And, together, we will ensure that they will remain the law,” Dunn said, surrounded by local clergy members at King’s Chapel in Boston.

At the news conference, members of local clergy said the law is in keeping with important tenets of their faith.

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In a federal lawsuit filed this week, four churches said the law could force them to allow transgender people to use the church bathrooms, changing rooms, and shower facilities of their choice, violating the churches’ constitutional right to freely practice their religion. They are asking the court to stop the law from being enforced and declare the new statute unconstitutional.

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Also this week, the Massachusetts secretary of state confirmed that opponents of the statute had gathered sufficient voter signatures to place a repeal of the law on the ballot in 2018.

Dunn said Freedom Massachusetts had created a formal ballot committee to fight to keep the law and there would be a broad effort to educate voters on the issue over the next two years.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos and subscribe to his weekday e-mail update on politics at bostonglobe.com/politicalhappyhour