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Reaction to NH Bans of Conversion Therapy, Gender Discrimination

Starting next month, New Hampshire joins just over a dozen states that have laws or regulations against conversion therapy. (@tobysx70/Twenty20)
Starting next month, New Hampshire joins just over a dozen states that have laws or regulations against conversion therapy. (@tobysx70/Twenty20)
June 11, 2018

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed legislation Friday to end gender discrimination. He said discrimination of any kind "runs contrary to New Hampshire's 'Live Free or Die' spirit."

Transgender people in the Granite State will soon be protected from discrimination in employment, housing and places of public accommodation. New Hampshire is the last New England state to pass such a law.

According to Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel for the Human Rights Campaign, it's a big win, because it’s very important to have non-discrimination protections in place.

"It's a really big deal to ensure that folks have recourse if they are discriminated against,” Oakley said. “And it also will hopefully prevent such discrimination from happening in the future."

New Hampshire is now the 19th state in the country to provide legal protections for transgender individuals. Opponents of the new law have been vocal, saying it could limit people's privacy rights in public accommodations, and compromise fairness in such areas as school athletics.

Gov. Sununu also signed legislation to ban conversion therapy for minors. Oakley said House Bill 587 primarily acknowledges that LGBTQ people are truly that way - there's nothing that's broken or requires "conversion" - but also that there's no therapeutic evidence to suggest otherwise.

"It's opposed by basically everyone,” she said. “And this is just really making it clear that this is an abusive, discredited practice and that it really should not be allowed to continue, because it's very harmful."

The transgender anti-discrimination law, as well as the ban on conversion therapy, take effect on July 8.

Linda Barr, Public News Service - NH