Charlie Baker says pro-transgender bill activists are ‘really compelling,’ make a ‘strong’ case

"They’re compelling, they’re affecting, and they’re stories are moving. And I said they should continue to make their case, because I believe it's a strong one."

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is greeted as he arrives at Middlesex Community College on April 21, 2016. Baker was on hand for the announcement of a new systemwide college affordability plan to lower college costs for students. Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe
Gov. Charlie Baker greeted Thursday as he arrives at Middlesex Community College. –Mark Lorenz / The Boston Globe

A week after Gov. Charlie Baker was booed off stage by supporters of a pending transgender rights bill, the Republican governor praised those same activists.

“I’ve been booed before and I expect I’ll be booed again,” Baker said Thursday in an interview on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio. “And truthfully, if I never spend any time speaking to audiences that I don’t agree with on anything, I’m really not doing my job.”

It wasn’t the first time the Massachusetts governor had expressed respect for said supporters of the legislation, which would ban discrimination against transgender people in public places, such as restaurants and restrooms.

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However, Baker, who has refused to take a stance of the bill before it reaches his desk, lightly weighed in on the merits of its supporters’ collective case.

“The folks that I have met with and the folks that the people on my team have met with are really compelling,” he said. “And I said that. They’re compelling, they’re affecting, and their stories are moving. And I said they should continue to make their case, because I believe it’s a strong one.”

Host Jim Braude asked Baker if the governor could imagine vetoing the bill, given that 17 other states have passed similar legislation, as well as the Republican’s “solid record” on LGBT issues.

Baker repeated his usual response, in that he didn’t think anybody should be discriminated against in Massachusetts and that he looked forward to seeing what came out of the House and Senate. He also pledged to reach out to all involved parties before coming to a decision.

Legislation in both the House and Senate have yet to be introduced for debate.

As Politico’s Lauren Dezenski recently reported, the House appears to be waiting until May, after the filing deadline for legislature candidates, to bring the bill up for a vote, in order to provide cover to some members from a primary challenger.

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