Sununu tries to mask his ugly history on LGBTQ rights
June 8, 2018
On a Friday afternoon with no ceremony or even advance notice, Governor Sununu signed HB 1319, a transgender rights bill. This bill was passed with unanimous support by New Hampshire Democrats in spite of the efforts of a majority New Hampshire Republicans who voted to defeat it.
Sununu avoided including the word “transgender” in his official statement after signing a bill ensuring equal protection for transgender people in housing and employment. Last year during a legislative fight on this same bill, Sununu said he had “no personal opinion” on the issue as he watched his own party kill it in the legislature.
What is Chris Sununu afraid of? If Sununu is willing to sign transgender non-discrimination into law, why is he doing it with no ceremony on a Friday afternoon and trying to obscure the nature of the new law in his statement to the press?
It might have something to do with his party’s attitude on this issue. The NHGOP refused to take up a proposal to remove support for “traditional marriage” from their platform at their convention this year. Chris Sununu responded to this by shunning his responsibility as the de facto leader of the state Republican party, deflecting blame to NHGOP Chair Jeanie Forrester and saying “I don’t really get involved in the platform issues.”
Governor Sununu’s attempt to avoid angering his own party has made him into such a reluctant supporter of transgender rights that he’s afraid to even say the word “transgender.” This same fear is behind his decision to not issue Pride Month proclamations, attend a single pride parade anywhere in the state, or even recognize pride month on his social media accounts, in both of his two years as governor. Signing this bill is a no-brainer, but Sununu’s failure to use any political capital to stand up to his own party’s long history of discrimination continues to make him complicit in it.