CONCORD, NH – The Senate voted May 2 to pass a civil rights bill, HB 1319, that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.
“Today, inclusion and love won. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am proud of the broad coalition that worked the finally get this bill to Governor Sununu’s desk, but I am equally disappointed 10 Republicans voted against this bill,” said Manchester activist Josh Query, following the vote.
“HB 1319 will ensure that Trans individuals are given the same rights as everyone else in the state. We will continue to fight against discrimination, of any kind in New Hampshire. Additionally, this bill is an affirmation of their identity and the struggles they face and is a sends the message to young people here and across the country that New Hampshire is a welcoming state,” Query said.
Once signed into law by Sununu, New Hampshire will become the 19th state in the country – and last state in New England – to explicitly provide comprehensive nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people.
“Today, New Hampshire lawmakers showed tremendous leadership in support of the transgender community and their loved ones,” said Linds Jakows, Freedom New Hampshire Campaign Manager.
“This law will go a long way to affirm the dignity of transgender people and allow them to truly live free. I want to especially thank my fellow transgender Granite Staters for their bravery and courage over the last few years – this victory would not have been possible without the voices of transgender people who have been telling their stories and educating lawmakers about the urgent need to make sure all Granite Staters are fully protected under the law. In a national landscape where transgender people are too often attacked for who they are, New Hampshire is a shining example for other states across the country. We look forward to the day Governor Sununu seals New Hampshire’s motto of Live Free or Die with his signature,”Jakows said.
Republican Senators Grey, Innis, Reagan, and Bradley voted for HB 1319 alongside the chamber’s 10 Democrats. HB 1319 was resoundingly endorsed by the Republican-majority New Hampshire House of Representatives, which passed HB 1319 on March 7 by a bipartisan vote of 195-129. Legislators in both chambers heard a combined 12 hours of testimony in support of the bill during three public hearings, most of which was from transgender Granite Staters who have experienced discrimination.
Sununu is expected to sign HB 1319 in the coming weeks.
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, Human Rights Campaign, Transgender New Hampshire, and Rights and Democracy New Hampshire.