A New Hampshire House panel on Tuesday
advanced a bill that seeks to protect transgender people from
House Bill 1319 cleared the Judiciary
Committee with a 10-8 vote. The bill now heads to the House floor,
where a similar bill was tabled last year.
According to the Concord
Monitor, the bill would prohibit discrimination in housing,
employment and public accommodations, including bathrooms, based on
Committee members opposed to the bill
called it unnecessary.
“I believe that we shouldn't
discriminate against anybody, and by listing out specific categories
of people – who are absolutely discriminated against – I don't
think that unifies the state,” said Representative Michael Sylvia,
a Republican from Belmont.
Sylvia said that the bill is “against
liberty” and would create government overreach.
“[B]ringing in the strong arm of the
government is antithetical to getting along,” he said.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called passage a “positive
step toward making history in New Hampshire.”
“No person should be fired, evicted,
or denied service just because of who they are, and it is far beyond
time that these important protections include transgender people in
the Granite State,” HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse said in
New Hampshire has offered similar
protections based on sexual orientation since 1998.