Today is the first day of New Hampshire’s legislative session. As lawmakers return to the State Capitol, they will be faced with countless bills.
One is of urgent order: Legislation to explicitly protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination under state law.
New Hampshire has had statewide non-discrimination protections on the books for decades. In 1998, the legislature passed legislation to update these laws to include protections on the basis of “sexual orientation.”
But now, nearly 20 years later, transgender Granite Staters still lack explicit protections.
This year, lawmakers can change that. Commonsense legislation has been pre-filed that, if passed, would extend non-discrimination protections to transgender people in housing, employment, and public places like restaurants, doctors offices, hotels, and movie theaters.
This legislation isn’t groundbreaking. Eighteen states have already passed non-discrimination legislation to protect transgender people, including every other state in the northeast. More than 200 towns and cities across the United States—including 10 here in New Hampshire—have passed non-discrimination ordinances, resolutions, or other measures ensuring protections for transgender people.
Just this week, Somersworth became the latest municipality to pass a resolution prohibiting discrimination against transgender city workers. The City Council voted in unanimous support of the resolution. Some members called it a “no brainer.”
This is just one example of the rising tide of public support for transgender non-discrimination in New Hampshire. As lawmakers return to the State Capitol today, they need to know that a vast majority of their constituents support transgender non-discrimination—and want to see it passed in 2017.