Massachusetts has been a leader in protecting the rights of gay and transgender people. The transgender rights law is the latest example. But a conservative group is working to get the law repealed.
The law passed with a super majority in the legislature. Now, the Massachusetts Family institute is trying to bypass lawmakers by going straight to the voters.
The goal of their petition is to repeal the transgender rights law that goes into effect Oct. 1.
"We're not against transgender rights," said Kris Mineau, chair of the institute's board. "We're against the violation of the rights of 99.5 of the rest of our population in bathrooms, locker rooms and showers."
Mineau says the provision allowing transgender people to use the bathroom or locker room that matches their gender identity is the biggest problem.
"We're most concerned about men who believe they are women going into those facilities," he said.
"It is about privacy and safety of all people, including trans people," countered Mason Dunn, co-chair of the Freedom Massachusetts Campaign.
Dunn says a crime is still a crime under the transgender rights law, no matter who commits it or where.
"It's important that folks use the spaces that affirm their gender identity," he said. "Affirm who they are. Those are the spaces where we belong. We belong in spaces that are consistent with who we are and who we know ourselves to be."
The Massachusetts Family Institute needs more than 32,000 certified signatures from registered voters to get the repeal on the ballot in 2018.
Those signatures have to be collected and delivered to the secretary of state's office by Oct. 6. After that, town clerks will go check them against their lists if registered voters.