A “Bill of Rights” for parents, which critics say will target transgender youth, was passed by the Republican-led New Hampshire Senate on Thursday.
Much of the debate among lawmakers has focused on provisions that require school officials to disclose, upon parental request, that a child uses a different name or is referred to as a child of a different sex.
Supporters said the bill would strengthen family ties, while opponents argued it violated constitutional rights to privacy and state anti-discrimination laws.
NEW HAMPSHIRE LAWS AIM TO ENCOURAGE PARENTS TO COUPLE TRANSFER PROCEDURES FOR MINORS
Many states with Republican-controlled legislatures have enacted similar measures, fueled by some parents’ frustration with schools boiling over during the coronavirus pandemic. And in the U.S. House of Representatives, a parental rights bill was the first bill that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy officially announced — fulfilling a large part of last year’s GOP campaign platform.
New Hampshire Senator Donovan Fenton, a Keene Democrat, said the bill passed Thursday will “further advance the transphobic and homophobic narrative that has begun to infiltrate our state from national advocacy groups.”
“Attacks and attacks on the LGBTQ+ community have increased across the country, and New Hampshire is no exception,” he said.
The state Senate bill passed by a 14-10 vote and will now go to the 400-seat House of Representatives, which has a razor-thin Republican majority.
“We must value and support the loving relationships that exist within our New Hampshire families,” said Senator Denise Ricciardi, a Bedford Republican. “Senate Bill 272 stands for truth, love and family.”
Bradford Republican Sen. Dan Innis, who is gay, said if a student is “visibly transferring to school or is visibly gay,” parents should hear it from teachers, not gossipy neighbors.
“I think this bill will create a situation where a student is less likely to be outed by his or her classmates and more likely to be outed in a way that supports that child,” he said. “I can tell you that at the age of 13 I was also very confused and parental support would have been very helpful.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE IS CONSIDERING A MANDATORY NEW CURRICULUM FOR SCHOOLS THAT WOULD INCLUDE COMMUNISM, FONT
But Democrats pushed back, asking who determines what is “visibly gay.”
“It is not the job of the teacher to determine this for the individual. That’s information that individuals may or may not disclose when they are ready and when they feel comfortable,” said Senator Becky Whitley, a Hopkinton Democrat. “Who decides whether someone changes gender based on clothing or just likes pink?”
The New Hampshire House, which is considering its own parental rights legislation, threw out a similar bill last year after Republican Gov. Chris Sununu vowed to veto it. He has not commented on the new bills.
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The House was scheduled to vote Thursday on a bill that would require bathrooms and locker rooms in K-12 public schools to be single-sex, but it was tabled over building code concerns.
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