Supporters Fill Statehouse During New Hampshire HB 1319 Hearing

By Shane Stahl • February 1, 2018 • 12:12 pm

Yesterday, hundreds of supporters gathered at the New Hampshire Statehouse in support of HB 1319, referred to by supporters as #TransBillNH, as a hearing on the legislation was convened before the House Judiciary Committee.

Crowds were so large that the hearing had to be moved to Representatives’ Hall, and following a full afternoon of testimony, the hearing was paused to be rescheduled next week in order to allow all those who wish to testify the opportunity to do so.

Support for the legislation was headed up by fair-minded Granite Staters from across New Hampshire, as well as Freedom New Hampshire, the campaign to secure transgender equal treatment. Freedom for All Americans is proud to be a leading and founding member of the Freedom New Hampshire coalition, with several of our staff members on the ground in Concord for this important hearing.

During the hearing, the Libertarian Caucus of the legislature unexpectedly announced its support, joining the Children’s Caucus, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, The Women’s Foundation, and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission as key endorsers of the legislation. Rep. Brandon Phinney, a member of the Libertarian Caucus, said to the committee:

“This bill affirms the rights of those in our communities who deserve to be protected. We are all human beings. We need pass to pass this bill now.”

“Protecting transgender Granite Staters from discrimination is an issue that bridges the partisan divide, as more and more Republicans are signing on to co-sponsor HB 1319, including some who voted to table last year’s bill,” added Rep. Erin Hennessey (R-Littleton).

Further testimony offered diverse perspectives from transgender Granite Staters, religious leaders, and figures in government.

“I have no fear that this bill will make my children or grandchild unsafe,” said Dover Police Chief Anthony Colarusso, addressing the so-called “bathroom predator” myth. “In fact, the most frightening criminal concern here is the one facing transgender individuals who are at grave risk for sexual assault.”

“One year ago, our transgender daughter Emilia took her own life,” said Rev. Elsa Worth of St. James Episcopal Church. “We are all created in God’s image in our amazing and beautiful diversity, including transgender people. I honor Emilia’s life by doing what I can to make sure New Hampshire is a place where our vulnerable transgender teens know that we have their backs.”

“I am a transgender man, a father, a husband, a homeowner and a taxpayer. Like all parents, I worry about my children’s wellbeing,” said Kenzo Morris of Gilmanton Iron Works. “But as a transgender man, I shouldn’t have to be scared that my children will face discrimination just because of who their father is. We need our legislators to pass HB 1319 so that all transgender people and our families can feel safe and welcomed in our own communities.”

Governor Chris Sununu is expected to sign the bill should it pass through the House and Senate. In late December, the governor created a special committee specifically tasked with investigating how to combat discrimination, including transgender discrimination. This week, Sununu also said in a radio interview that he is ready to move forward with non-discrimination legislation.

To follow the latest in New Hampshire non-discrimination legislation, click here.

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