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New Hampshire considers constitutional ban on sexual orientation discrimination

New Hampshire considers constitutional ban on sexual orientation discrimination

New Hampshire lawmakers have voted in favor of a proposal to study the idea of banning discrimination against people on the grounds of their sexual orientation in the state’s constitution in what would be an American first if it were to become law.

The New Hampshire state constitution currently prohibits discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex and national origin.

Since 1998 New Hampshire state law protects individuals from discrimination based only on sexual orientation in accommodation, housing, and private and public employment but a constitutional amendment would make that more secure in law.

New Hampshire law also allows transgender people who have undergone full surgical sexual reassignment to be issued new birth certificate but the state does not protect people from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and this new proposal will not remedy that.

For that reason the proposal has divided LGBTI activists in the state.

The proposal passed the state Senate unanimously and in the state House of Representatives passed in a 234-95 vote.

For a constitutional amendment to be passed it must receive the support of three-fifths of the members of the House of Representatives and pass as a ballot initiative with two-thirds of the voters at the next election in November this year.

New Hampshire lawmakers this week also passed a bill recognizing same-sex marriages that were performed in other states prior to it legalizing same-sex marriage in 2009 and also allowing out-of-state couples to marry in New Hampshire.

That bill has now gone to Democratic state governor Maggie Hassan to sign into law.