New Hampshire Governor Signs Civil Rights Bill

June 06, 1997

With Governor Jeanne Shaheen's signature, New Hampshire today officially became the 11th state to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Now, all New England states have laws that say it is wrong to discriminate against lesbians and gay men in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit.

"The civil rights sweep of New England is now complete," said Kerry Lobel, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). "Add Hawaii, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia to the list, and nearly one out of four people in the country live where discrimination based on sexual orientation is outlawed." Wisconsin was the first state to ban discrimination against gays in 1982. Maine became the 10th state to outlaw discrimination three weeks ago.

"The momentum has begun," Lobel observed. "The action for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender legislation has shifted from Washington, D.C. to the states. New Hampshire not only passed its civil rights bill, but trounced a hostile anti-marriage bill that would have banned recognition of marriages performed in other states as well."

Eleven other states have defeated measures that would ban same-gender marriage. They are: California, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming and Colorado. Colorado Governor Romer vetoed the marriage ban legislation late last evening. He said that the bill was "unnecessary."


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.