The major victory for equality marks the first statewide proactive win on LGBTQ non-discrimination protections in any state since 2016. New Hampshire is now the 19th state in the country – and final state in New England – to explicitly provide comprehensive nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people.
It is particularly significant because of the broad Republican support HB 1319 garnered. The measure passed the Republican-controlled Senate by a vote of 14-10 and the Republican-controlled House with an overwhelmingly strong vote of 195-129.
Governor Sununu also signed HB 587 into law, banning conversion therapy for minors, a dangerous and debunked practice that purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. New Hampshire joins 13 other states and the District of Columbia that also have laws or regulations protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy.
“New Hampshire just took a giant step forward for LGBTQ equality by ensuring transgender people are explicitly protected under state law from unfair and unjust discrimination,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. “No one should be fired, evicted, or denied services simply because of who they are. HRC was proud to work alongside Freedom New Hampshire and local advocates in fighting for this incredibly important victory, and we are thankful for the bipartisan group of lawmakers who took action to ensure this measure became law.”
“[,,] New Hampshire lived up to its Live Free or Die motto. We are elated that elected leaders recognized the need for this law and worked together in a bipartisan effort to get it passed. We created a strong coalition of business leaders, law enforcement, elected officials, faith leaders, human rights advocates, and transgender people and their families, who were able to move the debate beyond fear to a place of understanding,” said Dan Pontoh, community organizer for Freedom New Hampshire, the bipartisan campaign that worked to pass the bill. “We want to especially acknowledge the courage of the transgender community who shared their stories and helped educate lawmakers and their neighbors that every person deserves to be treated fairly and equally under the law.”
“LGBTQ equality is not a partisan issue, but a human issue,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “The vast majority of Americans agree that LGBTQ people should be protected from discrimination, and I’m encouraged to see a growing number of conservative leaders join us in supporting freedom for all – especially after meeting their transgender neighbors and learning about the devastating impact of discrimination against LGBTQ people from all walks of life. New Hampshire residents have much to be proud of as they join their New England neighbors in protecting LGBTQ residents from discrimination.”
“Today the Governor signed common-sense legislation into law to ensure transgender people in our state are treated fairly and with dignity under the law,” said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire. “It is past 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.”
“Today New Hampshire became the sixth and final New England state to ensure transgender people have the security to live and work free from discrimination, just like everyone else,” said Janson Wu, Executive Director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). “This victory has been decades in the making, and GLAD has been proud to be a partner with communities across New England in that work every step of the way. Granite Staters – and all New Englanders – can be proud of their leadership today in the growing movement to secure equality across the nation.”
Freedom New Hampshire is the nonpartisan coalition of businesses large and small, law enforcement, anti-violence advocates, faith leaders, and transgender residents and their families who introduced Granite Staters to their transgender neighbors and made the case for equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination. HB 1319 was endorsed by the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, House Libertarian Caucus, Children’s Legislative Caucus, and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission.
The members of the nonpartisan Freedom New Hampshire coalition include Freedom for All Americans, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire (ACLU-NH), Human Rights Campaign, Transgender New Hampshire, and Rights and Democracy New Hampshire.
The bipartisan victory in New Hampshire comes as the Trump-Pence Administration continues to push an anti-transgender agenda at the federal level, targeting transgender youth, workers, and individuals serving in the military. A growing number of Americans are rejecting discrimination against transgender people, as evidenced by public outcry in response to North Carolina’s deeply discriminatory HB 2 law; two consecutive failures by anti-LGBTQ activists in Washington State to bring the state’s decade-old nondiscrimination law to a ballot measure; the defeat of Texas’ SB 6, one of the worst anti-transgender bills in the country; and the recent victory in Alaska where Anchorage became the first municipality to defeat a ballot measure specifically targeting transgender rights.
The law goes into effect on July 8th, thirty days after the Governor’s signature.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organisation, working to achieve equality for LGBTQ people.