At Long Last, Gov. Baker Says He Would Sign the Transgender Bill

What took you so long, Guv?

Photo via Governor's Office

Photo via Governor’s Office

Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday he would sign the transgender accommodations bill if it arrives on his desk, after months of criticism for his ambiguous stance on the topic.

The bill, as approved by the Senate and expected to pass through the House of Representatives this week, will provide transgender people with protection from discrimination in public accommodations and allow them to use whichever bathroom corresponds with their gender identity.

In an interview with the Globe, Baker said he supports the House version of the legislation as its written now.

“We’ve certainly listened to a variety of points of view from many sides and have said, from the beginning, that we don’t want people to be discriminated against,” Baker said. “If the House bill were to pass in its current form, yeah, I would sign it.”

Baker has faced criticism for his hesitation to publicly support the bill. In contrast to Senate President Stan Rosenberg and Attorney General Maura Healey, who have lobbied hard for the anti-discrimination legislation—even enlisting the help of a few Boston sports heroes and Caitlyn Jenner—the moderate Republican governor was booed off stage at an LGBT event in April.

“Let me make one thing clear, we should not discriminate anyone here in the Commonwealth of Mass.,” Baker said at the time. “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.”

A month later, Baker is ready to support the measure outright, despite questions over public safety raised by “fair-minded and well-meaning people.”