June 8, 2018 at 2:41 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
N.H. governor signs two pro-LGBT bills

Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on June 8, 2018, signed into law two bills that add gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination law and ban so-called conversion therapy for minors. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday signed two LGBT rights bills into law.

Sununu signed House Bill 1319, which adds gender identity to New Hampshire’s nondiscrimination law. He also signed House Bill 587, which bans so-called conversion therapy for minors in the state.

“Today, New Hampshire lived up to its Live Free or Die motto,” said Dan Pontoh of Freedom New Hampshire, which advocated for HB 1319, in a statement. “We are elated that elected leaders recognized the need for this law and worked together in a bipartisan effort to get it passed. We created a strong coalition of business leaders, law enforcement, elected officials, faith leaders, human rights advocates, and transgender people and their families, who were able to move the debate beyond fear to a place of understanding.”

GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders Executive Director Janson Wu and Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin are among those who also applauded Sununu for signing HB 1319. Cornerstone Action, a conservative group that is based in New Hampshire, had urged Sununu not to sign HB 1319 and HB 587.

“Gov. Sununu today has signed away every Granite Stater’s right to privacy in public accommodations,” said Cornerstone Action Executive Director Shannon McGinley in a statement. “He has signed away protection for equity in school athletics and scholarships. He has bought into a lie that it is somehow bigotry to recognize a person’s natural biological sex, and instead instituted a new era of bigotry against people with common sense.”

“His choice to sign the therapy ban is nothing short of cruel,” added McGinley.

New Hampshire is the last New England state to add gender identity to its statewide nondiscrimination law. Thirteen other states and D.C. have banned conversion therapy for minors.

HB 1319 takes effect on July 8 and HB 587 take effect on Jan. 1, 2019, respectively.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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