New Hampshire House passes two bills attacking LGBTQ+ rights; LGBTQ+, public education, and child welfare advocates respond

For the first time in years, N.H. House passes dangerous anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and sends it to N.H. Senate

CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire House of Representatives today voted on four bills relating to LGBTQ+ rights, and for every bill, voted against protecting LGBTQ+ rights.

Two of the bills (HB 368 and HB 264), positive measures that would have streamlined affirmative birth certification and protected LGBTQ+ youth seeking certain health care in New Hampshire, failed. The other two bills (HB 396 and HB 619), dangerous attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, passed and are being sent to the New Hampshire Senate. These two bills would undermine the right to equal protection under the law for LGBTQ+ people by giving a license to discriminate against and segregate LGBTQ+ people in schools and other settings, as well as make it more difficult for trans teenagers and their families to access appropriate health services supported by every major medical association.

LGBTQ+ rights, public education, and child welfare advocates reacted to the votes:

Linds Jakows, co-founder of 603 Equality, said, “Today’s failure by the N.H. House to protect LGBTQ+ rights is a shameful beginning to 2024 in a state that has historically made overwhelmingly clear that it supports and respects LGBTQ+ identities. Trans kids and their families need to make private healthcare decisions that are best for them, and they shouldn’t be discriminated against and segregated in schools, carceral settings, or other spaces. We will continue to fight to ensure the rights of LBGTQ+ people are not violated by these dangerous, discriminatory bills as they make their way through the legislative process. When today’s anti-transgender bills get to Governor Sununu’s desk, he should promptly veto them, because ‘it’s the right thing to do,’ as he said when he signed New Hampshire’s transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law in 2018.”

Courtney Reed, Policy Advocate at the ACLU of New Hampshire, said, “Today is an especially grim day in New Hampshire: one where, instead of listening to transgender Granite Staters, medical providers, and clear medical evidence, New Hampshire lawmakers voted against LGBTQ+ rights on four separate bills. The two bills passed today undermine the right to equal protection under the law for LGBTQ+ people – and we urge all State Senators to oppose these dangerous bills that raise serious constitutional concerns this legislative session. Our state has made clear time and again that LGBTQ+ people belong, and after today’s shameful votes, it’s more important than ever to make the message louder and more clear than before that the Granite State respects the rights of LGBTQ+ people–and that our rights are not up for debate.”

Chris Erchull, Attorney, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), said, “All New Hampshire residents deserve to live with dignity and free from discrimination, harassment, and violence—including LGBTQ+ Granite Staters. Today the House took extreme and unprecedented action to undermine the ability of an already vulnerable group of people to live safely and freely in our state. By passing legislation attacking access to medical care for transgender youth and to roll back critical, established non-discrimination protections to exclude transgender people from public accommodations and school sports among other restrictions, legislators abandoned New Hampshire’s values of fairness and freedom for fear-mongering and discrimination. The Senate must vote down these mean-spirited attempts to divide our communities and needlessly single out transgender people for unfair treatment.”

Heidi Carrington Heath, Executive Director, Seacoast Outright, said, “Today is a hard and painful day for the LGBTQ+ youth of New Hampshire and their families. To say we are disappointed is an understatement. Today, their House of Representatives voted against the thriving, personhood, and appropriate medical care of some of our most vulnerable youth. Our core value as Granite Staters is that every person deserves to live free as exactly who they are. We are thankful for every legislator who voted in support of LGBTQ+ youth and their families. We continue to invite our elected officials to join us in working for a brighter future where everyone is understood, valued, and protected.”

Liz Canada, Advocacy Director, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, said, “Let’s be clear: today the House of Representatives failed to represent the people of New Hampshire. While we are deeply disappointed in today’s votes, we are so grateful for the unwavering commitment of so many elected officials, from both sides of the aisle, who continue to act in the best interest of all Granite Staters, particularly LGBTQ+ youth, no matter what.” 

Grace Murray, Political Director, New Hampshire Youth Movement, said,“It’s extremely disappointing to see the results of today’s floor votes. The House of Representatives failed the LGBTQ+ community by passing HB619 and HB396 and it’s even worse knowing that elected officials we trusted voted against trans rights. This is a ridiculous step backward for New Hampshire and our LGBTQ+ community deserves better. Young trans people deserve to get the care they need and those choices belong to them and their doctors, not state legislators. We are deeply grateful for all of the legislators who have been fighting and continued to fight until the last minute for these bills. NHYM remains committed to our vision of a New Hampshire where everyone is free to make their own medical and personal choices.”