New Hampshire House Refuses to Consider Transgender Nondiscrimination Protections

By Adam Polaski • March 10, 2017 • 2:18 pm

The New Hampshire House of Representatives refused to debate House Bill 478 on Thursday, tabling the bill in a 187-179 vote. If signed into law, the measure would have updated the state’s nondiscrimination laws to include protections for transgender individuals in housing, employment and public places, such as hospitals, restaurants and stores. Fifteen Republicans and one Libertarian joined nearly all Democrats in unsuccessfully trying to ensure an open and fair debate on the bill.

Efforts to revive debate on the measure later in the day failed on a 168-180 vote.

In February, members of a GOP-led House committee heard from nearly 80 Granite Staters from all walks of life, including public safety officials, business leaders, members of the clergy, medical professionals, educators, veterans, transgender individuals and their families.  The measure overwhelmingly passed that committee on a bipartisan, 15-2 vote.

Had House leadership allowed a vote, the measure would have likely passed in the Senate as three of the bill’s sponsors were Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro.

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 House’s actions:

“It is shameful that House leadership refused to give their transgender constituents even the courtesy of a debate on the urgent need for nondiscrimination protections. As we saw in the House committee that recommended this bill, when members meet transgender individuals and listen to the state’s business, faith leaders and public safety experts, they support nondiscrimination protections regardless of political party.”

Suffredini continued: “Despite today’s actions, we are committed to passing legislation to protect transgender people and their families in New Hampshire from discrimination. We will continue to introduce lawmakers to their transgender constituents until that day comes.”

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