Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted by a slim 187 – 179 majority to table #TransBillNH—effectively killing any chance to advance the legislation in 2017.
A later effort to revive the bill and call for debate narrowly failed early Thursday evening, 168-180.
This is a cowardly move, led by House Speaker Shawn Jasper, that gives lawmakers an “out” and lets them avoid having to go on the record and vote “for” or “against” protecting transgender residents from discrimination. But the end result is effectively the same as a NO vote: HB 478 will not advance this year.
Today’s table vote flies in the face of business leaders, public safety experts, women’s rights advocates, and more than 8,000 grassroots supporters who have emailed and called in support of #TransBillNH in the last 2 weeks alone.
And the refusal to vote on #TransBillNH sends a heartbreaking message to transgender people—who have been fighting for non-discrimination protections for nearly 10 years and who have been battling discrimination their entire lives—that their well-being and livelihoods are not worth safeguarding.
But this is not the end of the road. It is merely a detour. As our campaign manager Linds Jakows said in a statement released today: “Transgender Granite Staters deserve an up or down vote. It’s not a question of ‘if’ New Hampshire will adopt explicit nondiscrimination protections for transgender Granite Staters, but ‘when.”
In a matter of months we have built a thousands-strong grassroots movement and secured major endorsements from prominent and diverse groups including the Business and Industry Association, the Association of Chiefs of Police, and the New Hampshire Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. Together, we were able to secure a strong, bipartisan (15 – 2) committee vote recommending #TransBillNH “ought to pass.” And we saw that when lawmakers have the opportunity to meet real transgender people and their families, and to hear their stories—they vote overwhelmingly in favor of protecting these people from discrimination.
At the end of the day: Speaker Jasper strong-armed House members into voting to table #TransBillNH. When voters sent nearly 1,000 emails to House members in the hours after the vote urging their Reps to take #TransBillNH off the table and give it the consideration it deserves—Speaker Jasper looked the other way.
This is not what democracy looks like. This is not what leadership looks like. And now, #TransBillNH will not advance in 2017.
We can’t change the outcome of today’s table vote. But we can make sure that the Speaker knows that his lack of leadership today was abysmal. And we will hold him accountable. Click here to send your message to Speaker Jasper now.
Today’s table vote is disappointing. But we will not be deterred. Right now, it is not a matter of if—but when we will pass non-discrimination protections for transgender Granite Staters. And we will never stop fighting until #TransBillNH is the law of the land.