BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - More than 50 state lawmakers are calling on the Department of Corrections to appeal a decision to have taxpayer money fund sex change surgery for a man convicted of murdering his wife.
"I among many others was outraged at a decision that would suggest that the Eight Amendment requires a sex change operation for a convicted murderer," said Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). "This is not a reasonable thing, you have to appeal the decision because it can't be allowed to stand."
Under the Eighth Amendment, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf ruled that it would be cruel and unusual punishment to deny Michelle Kosilek a medically necessary gender reassignment operation. Transgender advocates have mixed feelings about the decision.
"The decision on one hand helps to verify what other medical associations say, that this is medically necessary treatment and yet this is a case about someone who's in prison," said Mass Transgender Political Coalition Executive Director Gunner Scott. "It's not the case I would want to see or pick."
The Senate's Minority Leader says treatment should be provided, but not every form of treatment. Most prisons provide psychotherapy or hormone drugs, but sex change surgery can cost upwards of $30,000 dollars.
"One of the issues is will this open up the door for all manner of things that people wouldn't be able to afford if they were outside of prison that now they may be able to ask for in the name of the Eight Amendment," said Tarr.
Governor Deval Patrick says he is reviewing the case, but his administration has not yet decided whether to appeal the decision.