Margaret Merritt: Three state reps showed courage on HB 478

  • Published in Letters

To the editor:

At the end of February, the New Hampshire House was considering a bill, HB 478, to extend state protection against discrimination to transgender people.

The House Committee on Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs recommended passage of this bill to the full House by a vote of 15-2 and made me proud to be a resident of a state that appeared to support human rights for all of its citizens.
My pride was premature.
GOP Gov. Chris Sununu stated that he had no opinion on this legislation that would have ensured that transgender people be treated fairly in finding work, housing, and getting service in public places like hospitals and restaurants.
Despite the bipartisan committee recommendation, the full House voted 187-179 on March 9 to table this bill, with no debate on its merits.
House Speaker Shawn Jasper pushed this action and the majority of his GOP colleagues followed his lead, effectively killing HB 478.
Of the 14-member Carroll County House delegation, only three stood up for human rights and voted against tabling the bill: two Democrats — Jerry Knirk and Ed Butler — and Republican Karel Crawford.
I want to thank these three representatives for their votes, particularly Crawford, who had the courage to ignore GOP leadership.
Margaret Merritt
Center Sandwich