Advocates for HB1319 gathered at the State House Legislative Office Building on January 17 to show their support for the bill. ~ Photo Courtesy of Freedom New Hampshire’s Facebook page.
CONCORD, NH -A bill seeking to protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination is being heard by a House Committee.
House Bill 1319 would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity for employment, access to housing, and public spaces like restaurants, shops, and government buildings throughout New Hampshire.
Advocates gathered at the State House Legislative Office Building for a news conference today to show support for the bill.
“We’ve always valued freedom and opportunity here in New Hampshire,” said the bill’s lead sponsor Representative Ed Butler (D-Hart’s Location). “HB 1319 isn’t about creating new or special protections for anyone – it’s simply about updating our state’s laws so that our transgender friends and loved ones have the same protections as everyone else. Our state is at its strongest when we’re all free to work hard, earn a decent living, and go about our lives without fear of discrimination. That’s all HB 1319 is about.”
“The Business and Industry Association is constantly seeking new ways to make New Hampshire more competitive and make it the best place in the nation to live, work, and raise a family. In our view, transgender freedom is an issue of economic competitiveness,” said David Juvet, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association. “New Hampshire has a significant workforce shortage. We believe that our legislature should do all it can to position the state as being welcome to all, including those who are transgender.”
“At the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation we take women’s safety and privacy very seriously. Nothing in HB 1319 would change the fact that it is already illegal to threaten or assault a woman in a public bathroom,” said Sarah Mattson Dustin, Director of Policy at the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation. “Transgender people face disproportionate rates of discrimination, harassment, and violence in all areas of their lives. Transgender women are women, and like all women, we want them to be safe, to have equal opportunity, and to be treated fairly. That is what HB 1319 offers.”
All of the other New England states and multiple other states across the nation have similar protections in law.
New Hampshire provides protections already based on race, religion, sexual orientation and several other factors.
A similar measure passed the House Health and Human Services Committee in last year 15-2 but was then tabled by House leadership last year.
The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a bill hearing on Jan. 31.