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NEW HAMPSHIRE
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILL

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Sponsored link.

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Source: Associated Press, 1997-MAR-3

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New Hampshire has lagged behind other New England states in passing laws to protect homosexuals from discrimination. Maine and New Hampshire are the only states in New England which do not have such a law.

Representatives William McCann, a Democrat and Joseph Frechette, a Republican have brought forth a bill. Frechette's sister is a lesbian; she suffered greatly from homophobia in her youth; he doesn't want his 8 year old daughter to possibly face what his sister did.

Professor Marcus Hurn, spokesperson of the New Hampshire Alliance for Gays and Lesbians, said the bill is much more cautious than similar laws elsewhere: "It is not a sweeping assault on the rights of free association...Nonprofits, charitable and religious organizations are exempt." As expected, conservative Christian groups object to the bill, saying that it would create a "special status" for homosexual behavior. Eleanor Campbell of the Eagle Forum said homosexuals don't "warrant the status they seek." Her rationale was that gays and lesbians don't meet the criteria of suffering from a history of discrimination. Former House Minority Leader Rick Trombly said supporters of the bill are not seeking additional rights. "It's not going to open the floodgates. It's going to give us a tool to help our citizens."

The Roman Catholic church initially opposed the bill but has since given its blessing after the proposed bill was amended to prohibit adoption and marriage by same-sex couples.

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