In a victory for transgender Granite Staters, the House of Representatives voted 195-129 to advance legislation that would ensure they are explicitly protected from discrimination in housing, employment and public spaces like restaurants, retail shops and hospitals.
The House passed the bill in a marathon session intended to consider as many bills as possible before an anticipated snowstorm.
If the Senate passes the bill and Governor Chris Sununu signs it, New Hampshire would become the 19th state in the country with an explicit, comprehensive statewide law protecting transgender people from discrimination protections.
Linds Jakows, Freedom New Hampshire’s campaign manager, said that today’s bipartisan vote shows New Hampshire truly is the Live Free or Die state. They credited the victory to the transgender Granite Staters and their families who spoke out, and the volunteers who worked long and hard to reach lawmakers and members of the public.
“Granite Staters from all walks of life have gotten the opportunity to meet their transgender neighbors and have come to understand that HB 1319 is about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to truly live free. We are so grateful to the bipartisan coalition of New Hampshire House members who voted to champion opportunity for all, and we urge the Senate to swiftly send HB 1319 to the Governor’s desk.” —Linds Jakows, Freedom NH Campaign Manager
A large coalition of groups and individuals inside and outside the legislature, ranging from public safety advocates and faith leaders to businesses large and small, have said the legislation is necessary for New Hampshire to provide a free and fair environment for all.
HB 1319 is endorsed by the bipartisan Children’s Caucus and the Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative, indicating that those who know best what children need agree on how important non-discrimination protections are for their development.
Despite repeated resurgence of opposition narratives stoking fears about “bathroom predators,” the opinion of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police—that HB 1319 will make everyone safer, including transgender people, without causing any uptick in public safety concerns—carried the day.
— NH Legal Assistance (@NHJustice4All) March 7, 2018
The NH Business and Industry Association, the House Libertarian Caucus, the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission also all support this critical legislation.
And over two days of committee hearings, hundreds of people spoke in favor of the legislation, including many transgender Granite Staters who shared stories of harm and harassment because they lacked the legal ability to protect themselves.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. If the legislation makes its way to Governor Sununu’s desk, the likelihood is high that he would sign it; in late 2017, the governor created a committee specifically tasked with studying and investigating instances of discrimination across the state, including discrimination against transgender people.