If you want to see how a third-world country treats its citizens, you need look no further than the Massachusetts Legislature. As the hearing began, Gardner Auditorium was packed. But most of the people in attendance never got the opportunity to testify.
On July 9, 2013, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary held a major public hearing that included most of the major “culture war” bills of this session. (In Massachusetts all major committees are joint Senate/House committees). Much of the social issues legislation before the committee could affect society in terrible – and unexpected – ways. But exactly as MassResistance predicted, it was a “public hearing” in name only.
In fact, the committee had no interest in listening to the public, particularly those who disagree with them. And they made it horribly difficult for pro-family citizens to testify. It was basically a scene of left-wing public officials and their allies “testifying” for each other.
Nevertheless, it was very important because we were able to experience their lobbying strategies and hear what they plan to do if these bills pass. And what they are plotting here will likely spread to other states.
Even by Massachusetts standards, this was easily the worst in years. The Legislature is getting more and more disconnected from the average person. The Joint Judiciary Committee is run by its House and Senate Chairmen, Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty (D-Lynn) and Sen. Katherine Clark (D-Melrose). They are two of the most arrogant anti-family politicians on Beacon Hill. Neither is interested in hearing from members of the public on culture-war issues. Clark in particular has ties to Planned Parenthood, the gun control lobby, and the homosexual-transgender lobby.
So they made this hearing as difficult as they could for the public to participate. Here’s what citizens had to contend with:
Overflow of people. First of all, they crammed 210 bills into one afternoon hearing. That’s approximately 8 to 10 times the normal amount for a day’s hearing. And many of these topics were very controversial. Usually one hearing room is used. For this, they planned two adjoining rooms. But those immediately filled up, so they moved it to Gardner Auditorium (also in the State House), which was quickly packed.
No time limit on speaking. If the normal three-minute time limit had been imposed, many, many more people would have been able to speak. But that was never implemented. Some people spoke for ten or fifteen minutes or more without interruption. The Committee simply didn’t care. Often, committee members would ask questions and then let them go on even longer.
The first four hours: Public officials (and their guests) only. The hearing started at 1 pm. People from across the state had come and signed in to testify. But the Committee Chairmen allowed public officials and their guests speak first. It’s actually a State House policy that public officials are more important than regular citizens at public hearings. In this case, all of them were liberal Democrats except for one Republican, Rep. Jim Lyons, and they made Lyons wait until end of that list. The “important people” spoke until after 5 pm!
The next five hours: Testimony by liberals. The order of speaking was not by bill or topic, but by liberal/conservative ideological position. When signing in, you were required to write the bills you would speak on and your position on them (for/against). From 5 pm until 10 pm, the various liberal and homosexual and transgender activists — those in favor of the Left’s positions — were called up to testify.
Finally, at 10 pm they allowed pro-family people and others still there to testify. By that time, just about all the pro-family people had given up and left. Those who testified faced hostile questioning by committee members, and were basically dismissed. The hearing finally ended a little after midnight.
What we learned from the Left’s testimony that day
The testimony from the leaders and major Leftist activists was very revealing about what they want to accomplish and how they intend to do it. They were certainly not shy about their goals to change society through legislation. Although many individual bills were covered over the 11-hour hearing, the “culture war” bills were basically in three groups:
A. Extending the transgender bill to include “public accommodations”
Bills H1589 and S643 would extend the current “transgender rights law” to include a broad range of “public accommodations.” These would include churches, hospitals and clinics, plus all public locker rooms and restrooms. The law would, if passed, impose fines and even jail terms for those who dare to make a negative comment, or who create a “distinction” regarding cross-dressers or transgenders in such places.
Not surprisingly, there were quite a few men dressed as women at the hearing lobbying for the right to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms.
(There was also Bill H1479, which would repeal the entire transgender law, and bill H1354 which would alter how “gender identity” is applied. But these were barely mentioned at the hearing.)
Judging from the testimony, most of their lobbying relies on very emotional “civil rights” arguments. And they have aggressive plans once this is passed. Here is a sample of what the Committee heard:
Absurd “civil rights” comparison. Rep. Brian Mannal (D-Barnstable), brought in a man dressed as a woman who told the committee how he’d had surgery as a teenager in the mid-1960s to “become” female. He said he had been using female restrooms even before that. He told the Committee he lived in the South back then, and “In those days the blacks were viewed the same as transgenders are viewed today.” Unless the Legislature passed this public accommodations transgender bill, he said, “this will take us back to the Dark Ages of discrimination in the South.”
Ridiculous rhetoric from head of state agency. Julian Tynes is Chairman of the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination (MCAD) a state tribunal which pursues and prosecutes violations of discrimination laws without regular court procedures.
Tynes testified that transgenderism is an “immutable characteristic,” protected by the Massachusetts Constitution’s Declaration of Human Rights. He referenced the 1781 court case where slavery was declared inconsistent with the Mass. Constitution and compared that to the plight of cross-dressers today. Thus, he said, “gender identity” must not have “second-class status” with regard to equal access to public accommodations. Tynes lashed out against the public’s “gender stereotyping,” which he said must be confronted via statute.
Tynes went on to talk about how MCAD is eager to prosecute restaurants and other businesses that treat transgenders differently, or don’t allow them to use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms.
Hospitals must offer “transgender health” services. “The Chairman of the state-funded Mass. Commission for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Youth talked about how this bill will give needed “access to health services” to transgenders. Since health providers are “public accommodations” they will be forced to provide “appropriate physical and mental health services” to transgenders. This is needed, he said, so that they can “reach their full potential.” He also talked about how his LGBT Commission is already “engaging” in about 150 schools across the state on these issues.
Goal of changing society. The Vice-Chairman of the Mass Commission for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Youth also testified. She was even more blunt about what the homosexual lobby intends the law to do. She said that “transgender and gender non-conforming youth” must not be forced to turn to “unsafe alternatives.” She said that the goal is “to set a standard all through society” regarding transgenderism, starting in public accommodations and restaurants.
No compromise on locker rooms and bathrooms. Jennifer Levi is an attorney for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which sues schools, government agencies, and businesses on “gay” and transgender related issues. Levi heads GLAD’s “Transgender Rights Project.” She told the Committee that there must be “no exceptions” on including all bathrooms and locker rooms in the law. She said that any law protecting transgenders would be “unworkable” unless cross-dressers could use any facility their “gender identity” required. (Elsewhere, Levi is on record stating that just providing “gender neutral” restrooms is not sufficient.) Levi said that the discomfort people have with sharing a restroom with a “transgender” of the opposite sex is exactly the same as whites not wanting to share drinking fountains with blacks in the Jim Crow era. Thus, she said, the Legislature needs to “set the tone of leadership” and make sure that locker rooms and bathrooms are included in this bill.
The lone pro-family voice. Rep. Jim Lyons (R-Andover) was the only public official to come and speak against this insanity. So naturally, they made him wait till last. His testimony sparked a bizarre response from one of the committee members.
Rep. Lyons brought up the possibility of a 6th-grade girl going into a middle school restroom and encountering a 15½-year-old boy who claims to be a female. Lyons said that this would make the girl, and her parents, very uncomfortable. One of the liberal committee members, Rep. Carlos Henrizuez (D-Boston), confronted Lyons about that, and Lyons stood his ground:
Henriquez: What about the 15½-year-old boy’s level of comfort? Whose comfort trumps whose comfort in that situation?
Lyons: I think that most parents would think that if they send their 6th-grade girl into a ladies’ room that they would not have to encounter a 15½-year-old male in that same ladies’ room.
Henriquez: And that’s based on your own position? Or whose?
Lyons: I think common sense tells us that
B. Repealing laws regarding traditional public morality
Several bills were filed to repeal a range of laws regarding public order, teaching values in schools, and traditional public morality. Only one legislator actually spoke on this, but she was very determined.
One other legislator, Rep. Chris Walsh (D-Framingham), who filed H1673 which replicates the bills mentioned above, came to testify. But he left the before he was called up. MassResistance spoke with him before the hearing. He insisted that the law criminalizing bestiality was “unconstitutional.”
C. Changing the abortion laws
A number bills were also filed regarding the abortion laws. Some would make it easier, others would make it harder. MassResistance’s bill, H1478 would repeal the “buffer zone” around abortion clinics.
The only one that caught the attention of legislators was bill H1565, known as the “woman’s right to know” bill. It would require abortion clinics to give a woman seeking an abortion detailed information about the nature and risks of abortion, and an ultrasound image of her child.
Several pro-abortion State Reps made it a point to attack that bill during their testimony on other bills. They claimed that giving women this information would add needless red tape and cause abortions to be delayed, and thus cause grave danger to the Commonwealth.
A very bad direction
It is hard to portray the complete one-sided nature of that hearing, as pro-family people waited until late at night for a chance to address their elected officials. When we left the hearing, we happened to speak with a man whose father came from a Communist country in Eastern Europe. He was quite animated about the kind of politicians we now have and the kind of “public hearing” they staged this evening. He said he fears that America is becoming like the place his father left behind. His was not a very comforting thought.
After the hearing: What can people do?
The biased and un-American nature of this Committee, and particularly its terrible treatment of pro-family citizens who simply wish to be treated fairly, is something that everyone across America (and even beyond) should find offensive. This ought not to go unanswered. We would encourage people everywhere to make their feelings known. Please contact:
Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Massachusetts State House
Dealing with the bills
There are a number of good bills that need an organized lobbying effort. But the immediate problem is preventing “bad” bills from gaining traction. Over the years, MassResistance has had a pretty good track record in helping to stop bad bills. We think that most of them can be defeated with a solid lobbying effort.
But in our opinion, the most dangerous bill is H1589 (and its identical Senate version S643) which adds the onerous public accommodations language to the current transgender bill. The homosexual-transgender movement is putting its full efforts and lots of money into this campaign. It’s a battle which must be won.
There are two strategies used by pro-family people to fight it. One is the “bathroom bill” approach, which argues that there are issues of “privacy” which must not be breached. This approach does not confront the concept of “transgenderism.” It concedes that “transgenders” have rights, but those rights do not extend to using opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms. We do not think this strategy is effective. It’s an argument that our opponents can beat fairly easily, and often have.
We believe that the only realistic approach of stopping these bills is to use the truth: The entire concept of “transgenderism” is medical and psychological lunacy, which does tremendous damage to the people suffering from it. It is not a civil rights movement.
These people need real help. The stark medical truth is that society supporting their proclivities will not help them find happiness — only more suffering and trauma. And their forced acceptance in society will draw more confused people into that sad situation.
Unfortunately, too many well-meaning people are afraid to stand up for the truth. Instead they take the easier approach. We hope to see that change in the Massachusetts State House during the coming weeks and months.
MassResistance has been active in Massachusetts since 1993. Based in Waltham MA; Brian Camenker, President. It is said to be the leading pro-family grassroots activist group in the State.