New Hampshire has officially outlawed gender-based discrimination, as well as gay conversion therapy for minors.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed the corresponding bills into law Friday, against the advisement of his social conservative supporters and faith-based constituency, WMUR reports.
“Discrimination—in any form—is unacceptable and runs contrary to New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die Spirit,” Sununu said in a statement after signing House Bill 1319, which expands the state’s existing non-discrimination laws to include transgender individuals as a protected class as it applies to employment, housing, and public spaces like bathrooms.
“If we really want to be the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, we must ensure that New Hampshire is a place where every person, regardless of their background, has an equal and full opportunity to pursue their dreams and to make a better life for themselves and their families.”
When the law takes effect July 8, New Hampshire will become the 19th state to provide anti-discrimination protections explicitly including transgender residents.
New Hampshire just took a giant step forward for LGBTQ equality by ensuring transgender people are explicitly protected from discrimination under state law. Thanks to the bipartisan group of lawmakers who took action to ensure this measure became law. https://t.co/OGiXN7B97q
— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) June 8, 2018
This victory marks the first statewide win for trans-inclusive protections since 2016, when Massachusetts legislators approved a similar bill protecting trans citizens in public spaces.
HB 1319 received bipartisan approval earlier this year with significant support from Republican representatives in New Hampshire’s majority-Republican House and Senate.
“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,” says HRC president Chad Griffin in a statement. “No one should be fired, evicted, or denied services simply because of who they are.”
“The governor signing this commonsense legislation into law ensures transgender people in our state are treated fairly and with dignity under the law,” adds Devon Chaffee, executive director of ACLU in New Hampshire.
Sununu also signed House Bill 587, which prohibits state-licensed mental health professionals from conducting conversion therapy on minors. New Hampshire now follows Hawaii as the 13th state to ban the practice, which dangerously seeks to change the orientation or identity of LGBT people.