Think Progress LGBT
January 3, 2013

Massachusetts State Reps. Jim Lyons (R) and Marc Lombardo (R) do not like the fact that a federal judge has ordered the state to pay the legal fees of a transgender prison inmate who successfully sued the state Department of Corrections after she was illegally denied sex reassignment surgery. While the state appeals the ruling, the two have taken the unusual step of co-authoring a bill to require the state to pay up to $700,000 in legal fees for every law-abiding Massachusetts citizen, the Tewksbury Patch reports. In their joint press release, Lyons defended the proposal as a matter of equality: “This is an issue of fundamental fairness,” Lyons emphasized. “The hard working citizens who follow the rules and pay their taxes do not qualify for benefits like this. If we provide extravagant benefits like this to a vicious murderer, then why deny them to the law abiding citizenry? It’s a simple matter of fairness and justice.” The Commonwealth of Massachusetts had an estimated population of 6,587,536 in 2011. Assuming that the vast majority of these are law-abiding citizens, a $700,000 entitlement could cost the state more than $4.6 trillion if every resident became a party to a lawsuit.