MAJOR VICTORY: New Hampshire House Advances Bill to Protect Transgender People from Discrimination

By Shane Stahl • March 7, 2018 • 1:15 pm

In a huge victory for transgender Granite Staters, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted today to advance legislation that would ensure they are explicitly protected from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. The vote was 192-129 in favor of the bill!

HB 1319, also known as #TransBillNH, would update the current non-discrimination law to include transgender people. If the Senate passes the bill and Governor Chris Sununu signs, New Hampshire would become the 19th state in the country with an explicit, comprehensive law protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. New Hampshire is the last state in New England without these critical protections.

Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, said today:

“Transgender Granite Staters ran a robust months-long campaign to educate legislators about who they are, and their efforts paid off today in a tremendous victory. This win took place because legislators met with their transgender constituents, listened to their stories, and understood the urgent need to ensure equal protections. In a federal landscape that has proven increasingly hostile to transgender Americans, New Hampshire has taken an important step forward to showcase their values of freedom and individual liberty for all.”

Building a Powerful Statewide Campaign

The campaign behind today’s historic and powerful passage of #TransBillNH is Freedom New Hampshire, a campaign launched in 2016 to ramp up momentum for transgender-inclusive non-discrimination protections. New Hampshire has prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation since 1998.

Freedom for All Americans is proud to have served as a leading and founding member of Freedom New Hampshire for the past two years, identifying early a path to victory and working with our partners to build momentum, move lawmakers, and stimulate huge progress for transgender people in the Granite State. Through our States Action Team, Freedom for All Americans channeled direct fundraising support, campaign strategy, organizing, earned media, and digital media to Freedom New Hampshire and made a big impact in this fight.

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.”

A Growing Coalition Committed to Fairness

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 endorsed the legislation as being 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.  

The NH Business and Industry Association, the House Libertarian Caucus, the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission also all supported 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.

Next Steps for #TransBillNH

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Republican Governor Chris Sununu has indicated that he would sign this legislation, joining several other Republican governors who have vocally supported transgender-inclusive non-discrimination. In late 2017 Governor Sununu created a committee specifically tasked with studying and investigating instances of discrimination across the state, including discrimination against transgender people. And this year he said he is ready to “move forward” on the legislation.

Freedom for All Americans is excited for this historic opportunity to protect more people from discrimination – and optimistic that this critical step forward builds momentum for statewide passage of LGBTQ protections and ultimately national resolution so that no one in the United States faces discrimination because of who they are or who they love.

Follow along with all legislation concerning LGBTQ discrimination in the Freedom for All Americans Legislative Tracker here. And learn more about Freedom New Hampshire here.

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