The liberal bastion of Massachusetts is sweating over a ballot initiative that could overturn a 2016 law that opened women's public restrooms to men.
Bay State voters will see several issues on their ballot in November, including the results of an underdog, grassroots effort to fight the bill signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker.
The grassroots effort, begun by 21 people just weeks after Baker signed the bill, meant collecting 50,000 signatures in 45 days. Yet the group now known as Keep MA Safe successfully gathered enough certified signatures by the deadline, and that effort is listed as Question 3 on the November ballot.
The Boston Globe reported in a June story that left-wing groups are confident they will prevail in liberal Massachusetts, but those groups are also aware this is the first time the men-in-women's-restrooms issue has been put on a statewide ballot.
"We are taking nothing for granted," the spokesman for a coalition of left-wing groups assured the newspaper.
The "eyes of the nation" will on be Massachusetts voters in November, predicted a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a powerful LGBT lobbying group known for threatening politicians and corporations.
Keep MA Safe is spreading the word with its "No on 3" campaign but was being outspent 30-to-1 as of last year, the Globe reported.
Massachusetts is not a lost cause for conservatives, however, after many churches were likely awakened after learning the state law applies to their own ladies room, too. A state commission and the state's attorney general, Maura Healey, separately announced that the law means a church is a "public accommodation" and must abide by the new law.
OneNewsNow reported in an October, 2016 story that four Bay State churches filed a federal lawsuit over that interpretation of the law. A follow-up December story reported that state officials reversed their "Gender Identity Guide" rather than fight the lawsuit.
Churches were also alarmed at language in the law that prohibits any statements made from a church pulpit that might "incite" others to discriminate against transgenders.
"We're just trying to get the message out about how far-reaching and how broad this law is, because there is a lot of misinformation and a lot of non-information about what this law really entails," says Yvette Ollada, a spokesperson for Keep MA Safe.
To depict how the law endangers women, Keep MA Safe has released a 30-second ad depicting a creepy man entering a women's locker room, where he hides in a bathroom stall as a young woman enters and, unaware he is watching her, begins to undress.
"What does Massachusetts Question Three mean to you?" a woman's voice-over asks. "It means any man who says he is a woman can enter a women's locker room, dressing room, or bathroom at any time; even convicted sex offenders."
The same voice-over then drops a bombshell accusation: a woman who reports a man lurking in the restroom could be arrested by law enforcement authorities and fined by a court up to $50,000.
Similar non-discrimination laws routinely include eye-popping fines that target non-compliant business owners, but the Massachusetts Family Institute has told OneNewsNow that the law targets individuals. That means a father could be arrested and fined if he confronts another man entering a women's restroom with his daughters.
The Boston Globe story mentions the 30-second ad but failed to dispute its claims.