New Hampshire becomes first Republican-controlled state to pass transgender rights protections
The Republican-controlled New Hampshire legislature has passed a bill introducing rights protections for transgender people, in a rare first.
The federal Republican Party is strongly opposed to discrimination protections for LGBT people, and the Trump administration has worked to dismantle civil rights protections for transgender kids and military personnel.
However, a number of moderate Republicans in New Hampshire broke with the party consensus to back HB 1319, which would update that state’s laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces to add protections on the basis of gender identity.
It now heads to the state’s governor Chris Sununu after passing with bipartisan support from both chambers of the state legislature.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 195 to 129 and the Senate by the vote of 14 to 10.
47 Republicans voted in favour in the House alongside all 145 Democrats and 3 Libertarians, while 129 Republicans voted against.
In the Senate it secured support from four Republicans and 10 Democrats, with 10 Republicans voting against.
A spokesperson for Sununu confirmed the Governor plans to sign the bill.
Linds Jakows, campaign manager of Freedom New Hampshire, the bipartisan campaign working to pass the bill, said: “Today, New Hampshire lawmakers showed tremendous leadership in support of the transgender community and their loved ones.
“This law will go a long way to affirm the dignity of transgender people and allow them to truly live free.
“I want to especially thank my fellow transgender Granite Staters for their bravery and courage over the last few years – this victory would not have been possible without the voices of transgender people who have been telling their stories and educating lawmakers about the urgent need to make sure all Granite Staters are fully protected under the law.
“In a national landscape where transgender people are too often attacked for who they are, New Hampshire is a shining example for other states across the country.
“We look forward to the day Governor Sununu seals New Hampshire’s motto of Live Free or Die with his signature.”
Zeke Stokes, Vice President of Programs at GLAAD, said: “New Hampshire’s leaders are demonstrating that nondiscrimination protection is not – and should never be – a partisan issue. From Alaska to New Hampshire Republicans and Democrats are coming together to support all people.
“Gov. Sununu has said he is inclined to sign the measure, and it’s critical that he do so in order to ensure that everyone in New Hampshire has access to the same freedoms and protections under law.”
Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire said: “Today the Senate passed common-sense legislation to ensure transgender people in our state are treated fairly and with dignity under the law.
“It is passed time for New Hampshire to join the nineteen other states nationwide, including all other New England states, by explicitly including gender identity protections in our state’s non-discrimination protections.”
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Janson Wu, Executive Director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) said: “Today, the New Hampshire Senate voted to affirm the dignity and humanity of transgender Granite Staters, and to ensure they have an equal opportunity to live and work free from discrimination.
“For more than a decade, transgender people across the state – along with family, friends, and freedom-loving allies – have spoken out, shared their stories, and led the fight to secure these critical protections.
“GLAD has been proud to be a partner in that work every step of the way. All Granite Staters can hold their heads high today, knowing that New Hampshire is truly embracing its ideals of freedom for all, and taking its place as a leader in the growing movement to secure equality across the nation.”
Human Rights Campaign National Field Director Marty Rouse said: “No person should be fired, evicted, or denied service just because of who they are, and it is far beyond time that New Hampshire’s nondiscrimination protections include transgender people.
“Fair-minded people across the Granite State support these protections and recognize the importance of making New Hampshire an inclusive and welcoming state for all. Inclusive nondiscrimination protections are now one step closer to becoming law, and we urge Governor Sununu to continue this momentum by signing HB 1319.”