BOSTON (CBS) — Governor Charlie Baker addressed reporters at the State House Thursday about comments that resulted in him being booed off stage by protesters at an LGBT event in Boston Wednesday night, saying he was proud of his record on LGBT issues.
“I went to the event because I believe in and support many of the issues that community is concerned about, and I’m proud of my record on them,” Baker told reporters Thursday.
Many at the corporate networking event for the lesbian-gay-bisexual and transgender community Wednesday night wanted Baker to voice support for a “public accommodations” bill meant to defend transgender rights that is currently stalled in the state legislature. But Baker said only that he would review the legislation if it came to his desk.
“And obviously, in the end, that wasn’t quite what folks wanted to hear,” Baker said. “And I respect that. It was an emotional issue, and people have strong feelings about it.”
Maxwell Ng, one of the people protesting at the Wednesday night event, said he has been a victim of discrimination in the past because of his perceived gender.
“I believe that the tensions got very unfortunately high. People’s lives are at stake,” said Ng.
Ng said he was attacked while riding on the MBTA, calling it a “very scarring experience.”
“We thought that (Baker) was going to announce his full support for the bill,” Ng said when asked about the mood at the networking event.
The two largest teachers’ unions in Massachusetts have supported the transgender rights bill, and Attorney General Maura Healey has urged legislators to support it.
Baker has said he would have to see the bill first before deciding what to do with it.
“As a general rule, we don’t take positions on legislation that’s pending before the legislature for a lot of reasons,” Baker told reporters Thursday. “I’ve made very clear I don’t think we should discriminate against anybody in Massachusetts, and I’ve also made very clear that we will take seriously whatever legislation comes before us on this issue.”
Gov. Baker spoke to reporters as a group of protesters chanted for a $15-an-hour minimum wage increase in the background.