The New Hampshire state House passed a bill yesterday that would make discrimination on the on the basis of “gender identity or expression” illegal under the state’s existing anti-discrimination laws. The bill defines gender identity or expression as “a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”
The state House voted 181 to 149 to kill the bill in March, according to The Citizen of Laconia, but the bill was reconsidered this week after several hours of debate. The final vote to pass the bill was 188 to 187.
Supporters of the bill argue that protecting individuals from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in housing and at work is important. The bill’s opponents argue that the legislation would allow access to all bathrooms by anyone, including sexual predators, according to the Union Leader.
During the debate, New Hampshire’s Speaker of the House Terie Norelli spoke on the bill: “New Hampshire and the New Hampshire General Court has always stood against discrimination. Somewhere along the way, that message got lost on this bill….We’re not asking you to open up bathrooms to sexual predators. We’re asking you to stand tall against discrimination,” according to the Union Leader.