On Thursday, March 9, after months of unprecedented coalition effort toward passing House Bill (HB) 478, which would ensure that transgender people cannot be fired, evicted, or denied service just because of who they are, the New Hampshire House voted to table the bill. This ended HB478’s chance to be passed this year.
While deeply disappointing, fair-minded Granite Staters and the Freedom New Hampshire campaign is more determined than ever to fight on and pass gender identity non-discrimination protections in 2018. The Freedom New Hampshire coalition includes HRC, GLAD, Freedom for All Americans, ACLU New Hampshire, Rights and Democracy, Transgender New Hampshire, and many local activists.
New Hampshire law has explicitly prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations since 1998.
While the bill did not pass this year, there were several wins to point to in the work of the coalition that show unprecedented progress and momentum for passage in the future, including:
- Eleven co-sponsors of the bill, including three Republicans;
- The GOP-led Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs (HHS) Committee overwhelmingly recommended that the bill “ought to pass,” 15–2;
- During House deliberations, 16 Republicans bucked Speaker Shawn Jasper’s leadership directive and voted to preserve open debate on the bill;
- Key endorsements from groups like the Business and Industry Association, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police;
- Impressive grassroots support that included 23,500 emails to lawmakers, more than 600 phone calls state representatives and dozens of face-to-face conversations with lawmakers;
- And transgender Granite Staters and their families telling their stories publicly in more ways than ever before.
While building the largest and most effective effort to date to finally protect transgender people equally under the law in New Hampshire, Granite Staters showed that they are overwhelmingly in favor of and ready for transgender equality–and none of us will rest until we get it.