Shell game

While a person pays very close attention to legislative shenanigans happening in one state, stuff is going down in another.

This morning, while I was still asleep in California, Republicans in New Hampshire were determined to maintain their exclusivity as the only state in New England to keep transgender people subject to discrimination.

By eight votes the New Hampshire house tabled a bill which would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations.

Why? But of course it was because abusive men might take advantage of the law to wrongly enter women's bathrooms.

Guess what. Abusive men are abusive and they don't need no stinkin' reason to be so. And punishing one group of people because of what a totally different group of people might do should be completely un-American.

But the bill is now tabled, so it won't even be debated, let alone receive an "upperdown" vote.

Democratic Rep. Ed Butler, the bill’s sponsor, says the House should be engaging on important issues instead of sidestepping them.

HB 478 received a 15-2 positive recommendation from the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee, but House Speaker Shawn Jasper is opposed.

If in fact (representatives) are opposed to passing the bill, this is a quicker way to get there. That may not be successful, and if it’s not, we’ll move on to the debate on ought-to-pass.

--Jasper

As a ‘freedom guy,’ I think everyone deserves to operate without discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. So why will I vote to table the bill next week since I just made the case to vote for it? The public is not ready. The number of people who have written stating that this bill essentially offers their children up to sexual predators is outrunning by 5 to 1 the number of emails stating that it’s time to end the daily beatings of transgendered people. The passionate are yelling past each other with worst-case scenarios. I don’t think this is an environment in which the legislature should pick a side. Society needs to evolve further on its own I think.

The New Hampshire Bill of Rights in Article I & II already acknowledges our rights to operate in society free of discrimination. The reality in my view is that we can keep the state government on the sideline. By putting faith in the people of New Hampshire to get along with one another, these issues will tend toward working themselves out in a more voluntary way. This belief is what will guide my vote.

--Rep. Jess Edwards, (R-Auburn)

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