CONCORD, N.H. — State Rep. Ed Butler announced that he will file legislation to protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations, which includes hospitals, restaurants, stores and other public places.
“Everyone should be treated fairly and equally under the law,” state Rep. Ed Butler, D-Harts Location, said. “By updating our civil rights laws to protect transgender individuals from discrimination, we will be saying that New Hampshire is an open and welcoming place for everyone.”
New Hampshire statutory law currently outlaws discrimination based on certain classifications, including race, religion, sexual orientation and more. Butler’s bill will update these laws to expressly include protections for people based on gender identity & expression.
“There are thousands of transgender individuals in New Hampshire whose lives will be positively impacted by this bill,” said Gerri Cannon, a transgender community leader and Granite Stater. “No one should be turned away from a public business, kicked out of their home or be fired from a job simply because of who they are.”
If the measure is signed into law, New Hampshire will become the 19th state in the nation to provide fully inclusive nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Law enforcement and public safety officials agree that protecting transgender individuals from discrimination is critical to ensuring everyone can live their lives safely.
“As Chief of the Dover Police Department and a member of law enforcement for over 31 years, I know our communities are safer when everyone is treated fairly and equally under the law and that includes transgender people,” said Chief Anthony Colarusso. “This group is actually disproportionately targeted for harassment and assault. However, in places where legal protections are in place, rates of violence against transgender individuals go down with no uptick in public safety incidents. Transgender equality and equal treatment for all is ultimately about building stronger communities for everyone.”
Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public safety for The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, added:
“The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is committed to creating safer communities, and we believe that no one should face discrimination because of who they are. Transgender people face staggering levels of discrimination and violence, and it is critically important that New Hampshire’s civil rights laws be updated to include all Granite Staters. No one deserves to be a victim, and we all deserve to be treated fairly and equally under New Hampshire law.”
The measure will be considered during the next legislative cycle, which begins on January 6.
“We are united in our belief that fairness and equality are important to all of us,” JeanMarie Gossard, Freedom New Hampshire’s campaign manager, added. “Freedom New Hampshire is thrilled to be working with a broad coalition of business, faith and civic leaders, and people across the political spectrum, to support this important measure.”