In Strong Bipartisan 15-2 Vote, New Hampshire Committee Recommends Passage of Transgender Non-Discrimination Bill

By Adam Polaski • February 22, 2017 • 3:57 pm

This afternoon, members of a New Hampshire House committee voted 15-2 in favor of legislation that would update the state’s laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces to explicitly include the state’s transgender residents.

The bipartisan vote was called just one day after a broad coalition of Granite Staters testified in favor of House Bill 478, including Republicans and Democrats, public safety officials, health care professionals, business leaders, members of the clergy, transgender individuals and allies.

The measure, House Bill 478, represents one of the greatest opportunities to pass vital nondiscrimination protections for transgender individuals anywhere in the nation.

Kasey Suffredini, chief program officer for Freedom for All Americans, and a founding member of Freedom New Hampshire, the bipartisan coalition working to pass the bill, released the following statement celebrating the vote:

“We are thrilled with the overwhelming, bipartisan support House Bill 478 has earned. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that does not extend explicit nondiscrimination protections to transgender individuals. Discrimination goes against the very values of freedom and individual liberty that the Granite State is known for, and today’s vote reflects that those values remain vibrantly held.

Suffredini continued: “We are energized by today’s committee action, and we know there is still a lot of work to do. Freedom for All Americans will continue providing pivotal lobbying, digital, communications and strategy support to Freedom New Hampshire to help secure these urgently needed nondiscrimination protections for transgender Granite Staters and their families as soon as possible.”

House Bill 478 will go to the full House for further consideration by early March.

The move today followed last night’s hearing, which consisted primarily of a public comment period during which members of the local Freedom New Hampshire coalition spoke to the 21-member panel of representatives about why they support transgender nondiscrimination in the Granite State.

Prominent speakers included representatives from many of the state’s major public, private and nonprofit organizations, including the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission and the ACLU; the Business and Industry Association, a statewide chamber of commerce; and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, one of the state’s largest insurers; and multiple representatives from local police departments.

Transgender Granite Staters also spoke at length about discrimination they had experienced and how updated protections would keep them safe. One of those who testified was Gerri Cannon, a transgender advocate who was let go from her job of 31 years after she came out. Gerri shared her full story with Freedom New Hampshire last year.

Freedom for All Americans is a proud partner of Freedom New Hampshire, the campaign to secure comprehensive non-discrimination protections for transgender people in New Hampshire. FFAA Director of Public Education, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, serves as the coalition’s chairperson. FFAA is incredibly grateful to all of the brave transgender Granite Staters who spoke out at today’s hearing, and hopes the bill will continue to move through the legislature this year.

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