Gov. Charlie Baker Walks Offstage Amid Boos at LGBT Event
Gov. Charlie Baker walked offstage after receiving a chorus of boos during a speech at an LGBT event on Wednesday night.
Baker, who was the keynote speaker at the 10th Annual Boston Spirit LGBT Executive Networking Night, did not get a warm welcome from the crowd because of his refusal to support an anti-discrimination bill that would prevent bias against transgender people in public spaces.
According to the Boston Globe, Baker left the event at the Marriott hotel in Copley Place about 20 minutes into his talk as the crowd began chanting, “That’s not good enough” and “sign the bill.”
Over 1,000 people were in attendance, and there were hopes that the governor would announce his commitment to signing the bill when it reached his desk, but Baker would not outright pledge his support.
“Let me make one thing clear, we should not discriminate anyone here in the Commonwealth of Mass.,” Baker said during his speech. “You have my commitment tonight that if and when a bill gets to my desk, I will make sure I talk to all parties involved before we make any decisions.”
But he was unwilling to voice support for the proposed bill, nor would he promise not to veto it, and a planned meet and greet with attendees didn’t happen. While Beacon Hill has had some trouble passing the bill, it’s received support from a number of prominent Massachusetts politicians, including Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Mayor Marty Walsh. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Caitlyn Jenner, and Henry Louis Gates have also recently lent their voices to the cause in video messages on behalf of Healy.
It’s the second time in recent weeks that Baker has come under fire for his perceived lack of support for transgender rights. He also recently said he wouldn’t ban state-sponsored travel to North Carolina after it passed a law forcing transgender people to use bathrooms according to the gender on their birth certificates.