New Hampshire legislature blocks bill on transgender rights

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By Scott Malone

<span class="articleLocation”>State legislators in New Hampshire narrowly
blocked a bill on Thursday that would have prohibited
discrimination against transgender people, including allowing
them to use the public bathrooms that match the gender with
which they identify.

Transgender rights are a politically charged issue in the
United States. Supporters say bills like the one blocked on
Thursday protect people who do not conform to their birth
gender, while opponents say they could give cover to voyeurs and
sexual predators.

The 187-179 vote by the Republican-controlled New Hampshire
House of Representatives to table the bill without debate came
one day after Governor Chris Sununu, also a Republican, said he
had no position on the matter.

Many Democrats had supported the bill.

“With Sununu’s support, the bill, which was tabled by a slim
margin, would be on its way to the corner office,” said Ray
Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “His
silence and apathy are a tacit endorsement of discrimination,
and he will have to live with the fact that he denied many
transgender people the freedom that is granted through equality
under the law.”

A spokesman for Sununu whose father, John Sununu, was a New
Hampshire governor and later White House chief of staff in the
first Bush administration, did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.

This was the latest in a string of defeats for transgender
rights this week. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a
lower court ruling in favor of a Virginia transgender student
after President Donald Trump rescinded a policy put in place
last year protecting such youths.

A Texas Senate committee on Wednesday approved a bill that
would require people to use public restrooms that match the
gender on their birth certificates.

That measure is similar to one passed last year in North
Carolina, which sparked boycotts that are estimated to have cost
the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Due to economic
concerns, analysts do not expect the Texas measure to pass the
state House.

Despite their dominance in New Hampshire’s government,
Republicans in the state legislature do not unanimously support
the party’s national agenda. Last month state legislators
blocked a bill that would have allowed employees in
union-represented jobs not to pay dues.

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