Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker, who supports gay marriage and released a video about accepting his gay brother during his campaign, was booed off the stage at an LGBT event Wednesday night. His crime? Vowing to listen to both sides of a transgender public accommodation law.
Baker has not opposed the bill, although he previously opposed the idea, and the audience clearly expected him to champion the legislation. He did not do that, but encouraged them to speak to his office and assured them he opposes discrimination and will hear both sides.
We sat down and talked to many folks on both sides of the public accommodation issue, and will continue to do so, as this issue plays out in the legislature. Let me make one thing clear: that we should not discriminate against anyone here in the Commonwealth of Mass. [applause, cheers]
If and when the bill gets to my desk, I will make sure I talk to both parties involved before we make any decision. [boos]
Hecklers started yelling over the governor, declaring: “Sign the bill!” “That’s not good enough!” “Give us some commitment.” After a few seconds, chants of “Sign the bill” over and over again kept Baker from getting a word in edgewise.
This is what happens when a sympathetic public official promises to be fair and give both sides a hearing. This is the response to civility in our age of political correctness.
When the mob finally became silent, Baker explained how he governs — by listening to the people. “I didn’t run for governor to work on the opioid issue; the opioid issue came to me from conversations that I had with people when I was campaigning,” the governor said. “The most powerful voices in this conversation have been the families and the individuals who have reached out to people in the administration, in my office, and in conversations with me.”
“My recommendation to all of you is that you continue to have these conversations,” the governor said. This sounds perfectly reasonable — public issues are difficult, and there are good arguments on both sides. When “transgender accommodation” means allowing biological men in women’s non-single-serve restrooms, there are legitimate concerns. No one is defending discrimination, but one side of the debate seems unwilling to listen to that.
When the governor encouraged the activists to speak to him, they cried back: “We’ve reached out to you!” “They won’t even take a meeting.” “Charlie, we’ve been doing it for a long time.” It often is difficult to get a hearing with a public official, and when you insist on shouting over him at a speech, that doesn’t exactly help your cause.
Next Page: The governor’s response, video of the altercation.
After this second interruption, the governor accepted the inevitable. He said, “Thank you all, have a great night,” and left, to loud boos. After the governor had gone, the protesters started chanting, “Trans rights now!” The cameras and media turned to the crowd, as they became the story.
Political pressure is likely to mount on this issue. A congressional delegation, including U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, wrote a letter to the Massachusetts legislature last November, urging them to pass the bill quickly. After the public outcry over the commonsense privacy law in North Carolina, I wouldn’t be surprised to see businesses start actively pushing the Massachusetts bill.
After all, the governor did speak in front of a Fidelity sign, emblazoned with a rainbow to symbolize the homosexual movement. If anyone is likely to give these activists a fair hearing, it would be the man who encouraged his gay brother, when their mother almost ostracized him. Nevertheless, the left isn’t out for honest dialogue or a civil discussion of issues, they are out for blood. It’s high time conservatives really shot back.
Here’s the video: