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New Filing in “Banned Concepts” Lawsuit Asks Court to Declare Law Unconstitutional

According to recent depositions, no state agency can say who is responsible for enforcing certain portions of the law, yet complaints made under the law have been elevated to school superintendents 

Educators describe the law’s harmful impact on their classrooms ahead of school year with it in effect

The broad coalition of educators, advocacy groups, and law firms challenging the state’s ‘banned concepts’ law this week filed new court briefs asking for an official decision in the case to declare the law unconstitutional.

Through depositions with government actors (including the Commissioner of Education, Frank Edelblut) and documents obtained in the case that have been made public for the first time, the brief highlights how the law is actively discouraging public school teachers from teaching and talking about race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and gender identity inside and outside the classroom. The current case before the court consolidates two lawsuits, one filed by the American Federation of Teachers, and another filed by educators Andres Mejia and Christina Kim Philibotte and National Education Association – New Hampshire. This consolidated case alleges that the law is unconstitutionally vague under the Fourteenth Amendment and violates the First Amendment. 

“It is clear that no one has a full grasp on what is or is not permissible under this law due to how vague it is–which in turn, negatively impacts teachers and students every day in the classroom,” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director of the ACLU of New Hampshire. “This law is an attack on educators who are simply doing their job. Through its vagueness, the ‘banned concepts’ law erases the current legacy of discrimination and lived experiences of Black and Brown people, women and girls, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities. What results is the creation of a culture of fear and apprehension where teachers self-censor, thereby limiting students’ education and teachers’ ability to comfortably and effectively teach.”

GLAD Attorney Chris Erchull, Morgan Nighan from Nixon Peabody, Gilles Bissonnette from ACLU New Hampshire, and plaintiffs Andres Mejia and Tina Kim Philibotte stand talking outside the court house.
GLAD Attorney Chris Erchull, Morgan Nighan from Nixon Peabody, Gilles Bissonnette from ACLU New Hampshire, and plaintiffs challenging New Hampshire’s “banned concepts” law, Andres Mejia and Tina Kim Philibotte

In addition to educators self-censoring due to the lack of clarification from state agencies, the brief also explains how members of the public–following the lead of several state officials’ public statements–have adopted an expansive interpretation of the law. Because a violation of the law constitutes a violation of the New Hampshire Department of Education’s (DOE) Educator Code of Conduct, the public has sent numerous complaints to the DOE about school districts promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion principles and having students read certain books discussing race and gender. Some of the complaints include those against specific books, such as Good Kind of Trouble, written by Lisa Moore Ramée, a woman of color, about a 12-year-old girl of color in a predominantly white school, or films, including one titled, “White Like Me: Race, Racism & White Privilege in America,” or other school materials. 

These complaints led the DOE to engage in varying degrees of inquiries or “initial reviews.” According to the brief, “this environment is even more challenging for educators because the DOE—including the Commissioner himself in his supervisory role—plays an active and attentive role in responding to any concerns made by purportedly aggrieved parents and community members, oftentimes elevating these concerns to school districts before there has been an investigation or assessment of whether a potential violation occurred under the Code of Conduct, or even before a formal complaint has been filed.”

Additionally, in depositions of DOE Commissioner Frank Edelblut, DOE attorney Diana Fenton, who oversees investigations of alleged violations of the Educator Code of Conduct, DOE Educator Code of Conduct investigator Richard Farrell, Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) Ahni Malachi, and HRC Assistant Director Sarah Burke Cohen, none could explain the meaning of the law or how portions of it would be enforced.

Andres Mejia and Christina Kim Philibotte, both New Hampshire educators specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion, are among the plaintiffs in the case represented by GLAD and ACLU-NH, and argue that this vague law unconstitutionally chills educator’s voices and prevents students from having an open and complete dialogue about the perspectives of historically marginalized communities.

Christina Kim Philibotte and Andres Mejia, two New Hampshire school administrators who are plaintiffs in the case, said, “As a result of the uncertainty around the current law, instructional choices have been chilled in order to avoid enforcement consequences. As educators, we are devoted to nurturing an equitable and inclusive school environment where all students feel seen and heard. Students must see themselves in the books they read and in the classroom discussions they have to ensure that they feel valued and to ensure that their full humanity is recognized. This law hinders these efforts at creating more inclusive educational experiences. These experiences are essential to making students feel seen and validated in a secure space, and thus making them more comfortable speaking and sharing their experiences on complex topics.”

Under the American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT) First Amendment claim, the brief states that there is no dispute that the law is “being broadly applied to the private, extracurricular speech of educators—including interactions ‘in a school hallway, schoolyard, lunchroom, or library, not to mention during extracurricular activities that take place on or off school grounds.’” One DOE investigator confirmed at deposition that these impacted activities even extend to programs occurring at off-site private facilities, such as hockey rinks, that are part of the schools’ activities.

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said, “For New Hampshire’s education commissioner, the fear is the point. The facts in this case are so clear, and so undisputed, that the court can issue a summary judgment and make a ruling based on the law. Think about the teachers trying to follow competing state guidelines mandating the teaching of accurate and honest history who find themselves walking on eggshells. Think about those afraid to teach about the origins of slavery, or Jim Crow, or Reconstruction for fear of falling foul of this deliberately vague statute. Instead of impairing teaching and learning by creating confusion and chaos, N.H. policymakers should be passing laws that give students the resources and support they need to recover and thrive.”

AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes said, “This vague and confusing law is so clearly unconstitutional that we hope a judge will grant summary judgment and rule that New Hampshire teachers should be able to teach honestly about history, gender, race or identity. The divisive concepts law was sold as a solution to a problem that never actually existed. It has forced teachers to look over their shoulders and wonder if a lesson or conversation may cross some undefined line and jeopardize their career. We need to put an end to silencing inquiry and discussion in our public schools and get back to active learning, so our students are able to become engaged citizens in the real world.”

In January 2023, the federal court ruled that the case would continue, making it the fourth case across the country challenging a “banned concepts” law that reached a similar finding. Laws banning similar concepts in other contexts in Florida were preliminarily enjoined on vagueness grounds in two cases, here and here, which followed another federal judge deeming impermissibly vague former President Trump’s “divisive concepts” Executive Order.

In that January 2023 ruling, the Court concluded that the law does “not give teachers fair notice of what they can and cannot teach,” adding, “[g]iven the severe consequences that teachers face if they are found to have taught or advocated a banned concept, plaintiffs have pleaded a plausible claim that the amendments are unconstitutionally vague.”

“The truth matters,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-New Hampshire president. “Purposefully vague laws like this one are aimed directly at stopping educators from teaching the truth. Our students deserve an education that will help them better understand the lives, cultures, and experiences of different people. But when the politicians who are writing the laws don’t value the experiences of people who are different than them, we get laws like this one. Parents and teachers want to give kids the best education they can without politicians limiting what history they can learn or what books they can read. We hope the court agrees this law is unconstitutionally vague and strikes it down.”

Chris Erchull, Attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, said, “New Hampshire’s public school teachers work hard every day to ensure students can develop the knowledge and critical thinking skills they need to be successful and contribute to their communities. Teachers can’t do that effectively when they are subject to this vague law, with no guidance, that forces them to limit class discussions and avoid certain important topics altogether. LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and students with disabilities are being especially harmed, but the chilling effect of this law is doing a severe disservice to all students, when their teachers can’t ensure they gain a full, rich understanding of history and the people and world around them.”

Learn more about the case.

Parentage | New Hampshire

On July 20, 2020, Governor Sununu signed into law HB 1162, which significantly increased the protections for all families, but in particular gave LGBTQ+ families increased access to parentage protections.  

What does parentage mean?

“Parentage” means that you are a legal parent of a child for all purposes. Parentage comes with a host of rights (e.g., decision-making for medical care or education, parenting time in the event of separation from your child’s other parent) as well as responsibilities (e.g., providing health insurance, providing for basic needs, payment of child support). A secure legal parent-child relationship is core to a child’s long-term stability and well-being.

Who is a legal parent?

A biological parent who has a relationship with their child is a legal parent. An adoptive parent is similarly a legal parent. Even without a biological or adoptive connection, certain individuals are presumed to be legal parents by law. For instance, a spouse is presumed to be a parent if he/she is married to the child’s mother.

Similarly, parentage is presumed when a person “receives the child into [their] home and openly holds out the child as [their] child.” In a groundbreaking 2014 case, In Re Guardianship of Madelyn B., the New Hampshire Supreme Court established that this presumption applies equally to same-sex parents. The court also held that a lack of biological connection did not bar the application of the presumption, since the “presumptions are driven not by biolog[y]…but by the state’s interest in the welfare of the child and the integrity of the family

While this decision is an incredibly important victory for all LGBTQ+ families, having to go through a court to establish parenthood is painful and costly. 

How can New Hampshire families establish parentage?

A bill critical to ensuring expanded access to adoption, particularly for children of LGBTQ+ parents, became law July 20, 2020 when signed by Governor Sununu. Provisions in the new law, HB 1162, ensure that unmarried parents can adopt children; that LGBTQ+ parents can confirm their parentage through adoption; and that children born through assisted reproduction can have their parental relationships secured through a court judgment of parentage. A legal parent-child relationship provides a foundation for the well-being of children, and through that core relationship numerous rights and responsibilities flow, including care, financial support, and health insurance, as well as custody, parenting time, and decision making.

New Hampshire parents can establish their parentage in the following ways:

  • Giving birth (except for people acting as surrogates)
  • Being married to a person who gives birth
  • The following can obtain parentage through adoption:
    • A single unmarried person;
    • Two adults together (married or unmarried); 
    • The unmarried parent of an adoptive child;
    • In some cases, a married adult can adopt without the spouse joining in the adoption;
    • An unmarried adult with the assent of at least one of the adoptee’s parents and with the intention to share parenting responsibilities with one of the adoptee’s parents;
    • A person or persons who are parents of a child conceived via assisted reproduction as defined in RSA 168-B:1, II for the purpose of confirming the legal relationship between child and parent.
  • The following can petition a court for parentage:
    • Intended parent(s) through surrogacy
    • A person who holds the child out as their own
    • A person who has a genetic connection to a child

What is the difference between joint, second-parent (also known as co-parent) and single-parent adoptions?

A joint adoption is when both partners adopt a child together at the same time. A second-parent adoption is when one partner adopts the other partner’s child. A single-parent adoption is when a single individual adopts a child. All three of these are legal in Connecticut.

What is the advantage of doing a second parent adoption or joint adoption?

Both joint adoptions and second-parent adoptions ensure your child has two legal parents, Both married and unmarried couples can do a joint or second parent adoption. Adoption allows a non-legal parent to become a legal parent, entitled to make decisions for the child without special authorization. It also permits the adoptive parent to automatically assume custody of the child if their partner dies. Likewise, if the adoptive parent dies, the child will have the right to inherit from that parent even absent a will and may be able to collect Social Security survivor benefits.

Finally, if the couple separates, adoption ensures that both parents have the right to custody and visitation, and that any disputes will be decided based on what is in the best interests of the child rather than on who is the legal parent.

Do we need to do a second-parent adoption if we are married?

When a child is born into a marriage, New Hampshire law and the law of all states, presumes that both spouses are the parents of the child and both names are listed on the child’s birth certificate. However, this is only a presumption and can be challenged in court, so GLAD recommended that married couples do a second-parent adoption to ensure the parentage of the non-biological parent because adoption is a court judgment creating a parent-child relationship and must be respected by other states. GLAD Answers can provide referrals to attorneys in GLAD’s Lawyer Referral Service who have expertise in second-parent adoptions.

Some states, like Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont, have a second way to protect the parentage of the non-biological partner by signing a voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage. This is a form that only needs to be witnessed or notarized by the parents and so saves the expense of hiring an attorney and there is no need to make a court appearance, and yet, by federal law, this document has the same force as a court judgment. Unfortunately, this option is not yet available in New Hampshire for same-sex couples.

Does New Hampshire have laws that pertain to surrogacy?

Yes. In 2014, the New Hampshire General Court passed Senate Bill SB353, An Act Relative to Surrogacy, which updated New Hampshire’s surrogacy law to reflect advances in assisted reproductive technologies. Previously, New Hampshire law allowed surrogacy only when the intended mother’s eggs were used, and only when the intended parents were married. The new Act allows all individuals to become parents via surrogacy regardless of marital status or sexual orientation.

The Act also simplified the legal process for intended parents, establishing standardized criteria for gestational carrier agreements and ensuring that all parties are legally protected. It sets minimum requirements for gestational carrier agreements and recognizes that these agreements are legally enforceable contracts.

Here are the key elements of this law:

  1. It ensures that there is appropriate and clear statutory language that establishes updated and consistent standards and procedural safeguards.
  2. It facilitates the use of assisted reproductive technologies.
  3. It defines, confirms and protects the legal status and best interests of children born as a result of gestational carrier agreements.
  4. It protects the rights of the intended parents and gestational carrier.
  5. It ensures that all parties in a gestational carrier arrangement (GCA) are legally protected and enter into the GCA with the same rights, expectations and responsibilities.
  6. It standardizes the minimum requirements of gestational carrier agreements and recognizes that they are valid and enforceable legal contracts.

Does NH’s surrogacy law now apply equally to same-sex couples?

Yes. SB 353 is written in a gender-neutral way that should apply equally to same-sex couples seeking to use assisted reproduction in order to have a child together.

We are a gay male couple who want to have a child through a gestational surrogate in New Hampshire. What are we required to do prior to any medical procedures to impregnate the gestational carrier?

You must have a consultation with an attorney regarding the terms and potential legal consequences of the GCA before you sign it. Your attorney must be separate and independent from the attorney used by your surrogate. You must have completed a mental health consultation.

 What are the requirements for someone to be a gestational carrier?

  1. They are at least 21 years of age.
  2. They have given birth to at least one child.
  3. They have completed a physical medical evaluation in substantial conformance with the guidelines set forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
  4. They have completed a mental health consultation in conformance with the statutory requirements.
  5. They and their spouse or partner, if any, have consulted with an attorney regarding the terms and potential legal consequences of the GCA

Who will be the legal parents of the child resulting from gestational surrogacy?

Under the new law, the intended parents shall be the sole legal parents of a child resulting from gestational surrogacy. The gestational carrier, her spouse or partner, if any, shall not be found to be legal parents. This understanding must be included in the GCA before any medical procedure to impregnate the gestational carrier can occur

The law distinguishes between gamete(s) or embryo(s) from a “donor,” who has no parental rights, and gamete(s) or embryo(s) that may be provided by an intended parent.

What are the minimum requirements for a GCA?

A GCA must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be in writing;
  2. Be executed before any medical procedures to impregnate the gestational carrier;
  3. All parties must be represented by legal counsel, and the legal counsel of the gestational carrier and her spouse or partner, if any, must be independent from the legal counsel for the intended parents;
  4. The gestational carrier must agree to:
    1. Undergo embryo transfer, become pregnant by means of assisted reproduction, and attempt to carry and give birth to the resulting child;
    2. Relinquish all rights, obligations, and duties as a parent of the child; and
    3. Surrender physical custody of the child to the intended parent(s) immediately upon birth of the child;
  5. The gestational carrier’s spouse or partner, if any, must agree to abide by the terms of the GCA including the relinquishment of all parental rights, obligations, and duties;
  6. The intended parent(s) must agree to:
    1. Accept sole rights, obligations and duties as parent(s) of the child;
    2. Accept sole physical custody and responsibility for the support of the child upon birth;
  7. Agreement of all parties as to how reasonable compensation, if any, will be paid to the gestational carrier;
  8. Agreement of all parties as to how, if the gestational carrier breaches a provision of the GCA or the law in a way that causes harm to the child, the gestational carrier will cover her potential liability;
  9. Agreement of all parties as to how decisions regarding termination of the pregnancy shall be made.

Can the intended parent(s) get a pre-birth order declaring them to be the child’s parent(s)?

Yes. Any of the parties to the GCA may petition the court for a parentage order declaring that the intended parent(s) are the sole parent(s) of the child and directing that the birth certificate reflect that. The parties may also seek such an order after the birth of the child.

Is traditional (genetic) surrogacy legal in New Hampshire?

Yes. Traditional surrogacy is not prohibited in New Hampshire, although intended parents who pursue this path will not be able to obtain a pre-birth order to establish their parental rights.

If same-sex parents raise a child together, but only one is the “legal” parent, then what rights does the non-legal parent have vis-à-vis the child?

These are tricky cases, but a non-legal parent may be able show that they stand in loco parentis to their child, entitling them to a limited number of rights, including the ability to intervene in custody proceedings. To establish in loco parentis, an individual must show that they admitted the child into their family and treated the child as a family member, forming a “psychological parent-child relationship.”

Short of second-parent adoption, how can a family protect the interests of the child vis-à-vis their non-legal parent?

There are a number of steps that can be taken, although none offer the security of a second-parent adoption.

  • Co-parenting agreement: A co-parenting agreement is an agreement setting out the parents’ expectations about each other’s roles and their plans in the event of separation, disability, or death. While these agreements may not always be given full effect by courts, which are bound to make custody and visitation decisions based on the child’s best interests, they are important indicators of what the couple believed was in the best interests of the child and may influence a court’s ultimate decision.
  • Co-guardianship: A legal parent may choose to name the non- legal parent as a co-guardian. This process allows the non-legal parent to make the same kinds of decisions for the child that a legal parent makes, including medical decisions. The best interest of the child standard controls appointments of guardians, and a guardian must file annual reports on the minor’s welfare. This status is not permanent and any person, including the legal parent, may petition to have a guardian removed.
  • Wills: A legal parent may use their will to nominate a guardian to take custody of the child upon the parent’s death. These wishes are given strong preference by courts. However, if the child has another legal parent living, then that person will have priority over the nominated guardian.

Jóvenes | Derechos y protecciones | Nuevo Hampshire (Español)

Preguntas y respuestas sobre los derechos de los jóvenes en Nuevo Hampshire

¿Cuáles son mis derechos como estudiante LGBTQ+?

Todos los estudiantes de escuelas públicas de Nuevo Hampshire tienen derecho a lo siguiente:

  • Estar seguros en la escuela sin sufrir acoso escolar.
  • Estar protegidos de la discriminación o el hostigamiento por su orientación sexual, identidad de género o situación en relación con el VIH.
  • Acceder a información sobre personas LGBTQ+, incluidos los sitios web educativos.
  • Vestirse y presentarse de manera coherente con su identidad de género.
  • Hablar y expresarse libremente. Esto significa que usted tiene derecho a expresar ideas que pueden ofender a otras personas y a estar en desacuerdo con los demás, siempre y cuando exprese esas ideas de forma respetuosa.

Los estudiantes de todas las escuelas públicas y de muchas escuelas privadas de Nuevo Hampshire tienen derecho a lo siguiente:

  • Formar una alianza de personas gais o heterosexuales que sea tratada de la misma manera que los demás grupos extracurriculares. Esto significa que debe tener la misma financiación, acceso a instalaciones y la capacidad de elegir el nombre del grupo.

Fuera de la escuela, tiene derecho a lo siguiente:

  • Estar protegido de la discriminación por su orientación sexual real o percibida, situación frente al VIH o identidad de género en el empleo, la vivienda y las prestaciones públicas (como restaurantes o tiendas).
  • Dar su consentimiento para que le realicen pruebas de VIH sin el permiso de sus padres si es mayor de 14 años. Para obtener información más específica, consulte el Área de problemas de “VIH o sida”.
  • Denunciar ante la policía que una persona de la escuela o ajena a ella le ha causado daños, lo ha amenazado o ha vandalizado su propiedad.

¿Existen leyes que protegen a los estudiantes gais y transgénero del acoso escolar en Nuevo Hampshire?

Sí. En 2010, el Tribunal General de Nuevo Hampshire aprobó una revisión de la Ley de Seguridad y Prevención de la Violencia para Alumnos que específicamente reconoció que los alumnos LGBTQ+ o que se perciben como LGBTQ+ son uno de los grupos que históricamente han sido víctimas de acoso escolar. Ahora Nuevo Hampshire tiene una de las leyes contra el acoso escolar más sólidas del país.

La ley de 2010 exige que cada distrito escolar y escuela subvencionada adopte una política escrita para prohibir el acoso escolar y el ciberacoso que incluya lo siguiente:

  • un procedimiento para denunciar el acoso escolar;
  • un procedimiento para notificar a los padres o el tutor de una víctima, dentro de las 48 horas de la denuncia del incidente, que se pueda omitir si la escuela siente que sería lo mejor para la víctima o el perpetrador;
  • un procedimiento para investigar el incidente de forma oportuna. Para cada incidente justificado de acoso escolar, la escuela debe crear un plan de reparación que puede incluir medidas disciplinarias apropiadas contra el perpetrador, pasos para reducir futuros incidentes o represalias y, si corresponde, el ofrecimiento de asistencia a la víctima o el perpetrador. El plan de reparación también se debe comunicar a los padres o tutores de todos los estudiantes involucrados en el incidente;
  • un plan para informar, capacitar y educar a los estudiantes, el personal y los padres en relación con la política contra el acoso escolar.

Puede encontrar información detallada sobre la ley contra el acoso escolar de Nuevo Hampshire aquí: Acoso escolar y ciberacoso | Departamento de Educación

¿Las escuelas pueden regular políticas contra el acoso escolar fuera de las instalaciones escolares?

Sí. En el caso Mahanoy Area School Dist. V. B. L., además de concluir que los estudiantes tienen amplitud de derechos de habla y expresión fuera de la escuela, la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos estableció que “Las circunstancias que pueden implicar los intereses regulatorios de una escuela [fuera de la escuela] incluyen casos graves de acoso escolar u hostigamiento hacia personas particulares y amenazas dirigidas a docentes u otros estudiantes…”.

¿Nuevo Hampshire tiene lineamientos que las escuelas deban seguir para proteger a los estudiantes transgénero?

Sí, en 2015, la Asociación de Consejos Escolares de Nuevo Hampshire creó una política modelo para que los distritos escolares sigan a fin de proteger a los estudiantes transgénero y de género no binario. Consulte JBAB: ESTUDIANTES TRANSGÉNERO Y DE GÉNERO NO BINARIO

La política modelo incluye lo siguiente:

  • Las escuelas deben respetar el nombre y los pronombres de un estudiante transgénero.
  • Las escuelas deben respetar la privacidad de los estudiantes transgénero en cuanto a la información médica, los nombres anteriores, etcétera.
  • El nombre y el género en los registros de un estudiante debe ajustarse a su identidad de género.
  • Los estudiantes transgénero deben poder usar el baño, los casilleros y el vestuario correspondientes a su identidad de género.
  • Los estudiantes transgénero deben poder participar en cualquier actividad con segregación sexual (incluidas las deportivas), de forma que se ajuste a su identidad de género.

Lamentablemente, al 2020, solo 48 de los 196 distritos escolares y escuelas subvencionadas habían adoptado dicho plan, según un informe de la Unión Estadounidense de Libertades Civiles (American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU) de Nuevo Hampshire: The Case for Lived Equality in the Classroom (El caso de la equidad en las aulas).

¿La ley contra la discriminación de Nuevo Hampshire protege también a los estudiantes de escuelas públicas?

Sí, el artículo 354-A:27 de la ley de Nuevo Hampshire establece lo siguiente:

“Ninguna persona debe ser excluida de participar en las escuelas públicas, sufrir la denegación de los beneficios de las escuelas públicas o sufrir discriminación en estas últimas por su edad, sexo, identidad de género, orientación sexual, raza, color de piel, estado civil, situación familiar, discapacidad, religión o nacionalidad…”.

Para obtener más información sobre la ley contra la discriminación de Nuevo Hampshire y cómo presentar una queja por discriminación, consulte el Área de problemas de “discriminación”.

¿Existen leyes federales que protejan a los estudiantes?

Sí, el título IX prohíbe la discriminación contra los estudiantes por motivos de sexo en toda escuela o universidad que reciba fondos federales. A la luz del fallo de la Corte Suprema en el caso Bostock v. Clayton County, que determinó que la discriminación por orientación sexual e identidad de género son formas de discriminación sexual, el Departamento de Educación federal, que implementa el título IX, ha establecido que interpretará toda discriminación por orientación sexual e identidad de género como discriminación sexual.

Para presentar una queja ante la Oficina de Derechos Civiles del Departamento de Educación, consulte  Cómo presentar una queja por discriminación ante la Oficina de Derechos Civiles.

Puede presentar quejas ante el coordinador del título IX de su escuela y a la siguiente dirección:

Office of Civil Rights
The U.S. Department of Education
John W. McCormack Post Office & Courthouse, Room 222
Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02109 Además, algunos tipos de discriminación y hostigamiento pueden infringir los derechos constitucionales de los estudiantes.

¿Qué puedo hacer si estoy siendo discriminado o acosado en la escuela?

Hay muchas formas de abordar el problema. Una consiste en pedir apoyo a un amigo, docente o terapeuta y hablar con las personas que lo están molestando. Sin embargo, si no se siente seguro haciendo esto, ya no sería una opción.

Consulte las políticas de su escuela e informe a la persona a la cual se debe notificar; por lo general, se trata del vicedirector o el coordinador del título IX. Debe registrar todo incidente de hostigamiento o discriminación por escrito con la fecha y la hora como mínimo. Una vez que se haya reunido con los funcionarios correspondientes, escriba notas para sus registros sobre lo que les dijo y en qué fecha, y pregunte cuándo se pondrán en contacto con usted para darle una respuesta. Si no lo ayudan o no realizan un seguimiento con usted, podría escribirle al director y al superintendente y pedirle que ponga fin a la discriminación.

Si esto falla, también puede iniciar una acción legal contra el pueblo comunicándose con la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Nuevo Hampshire o la Oficina de Derechos Civiles del Departamento de Educación. Esta es un área complicada de la ley y, además, es compleja en términos emocionales. Comuníquese con GLAD Answers completando el formulario en GLAD Answers por correo electrónico o por teléfono, al 800-455-4523 (GLAD), para hablar sobre las opciones.

¿Los estudiantes tienen el derecho de formar alianzas de personas gais o heterosexuales en sus escuelas?

Sí, tanto los estudiantes de la escuela secundaria como los estudiantes de la escuela intermedia. Una ley federal llamada “Ley de Acceso Igualitario” exige que todas las escuelas secundarias con fondos federales brinden acceso igualitario a los clubes extracurriculares. Si una escuela tiene como mínimo un club extracurricular liderado por estudiantes, debe permitir la organización de clubes adicionales y debe brindarles igualdad de acceso a espacios de reunión, instalaciones y fondos sin discriminarlos por el fin del club, ya sea religioso, filosófico, político o de otro tipo (artículo 4071 del título 20 del Código de los Estados Unidos [United States Code, USC]). 

¿Nuevo Hampshire tiene una ley que prohíbe la terapia de conversión?

Sí, en 2018, Nuevo Hampshire aprobó el artículo 332-L de las Leyes Revisadas de Nuevo Hampshire, que prohíbe a los profesionales de la salud mental con licencia realizar terapias de conversión en menores.

Las organizaciones médicas, de salud mental y de bienestar infantil estatales y nacionales se oponen a la práctica de la terapia de conversión, una práctica que busca cambiar la orientación sexual o la identidad de género de una persona. Una amplia bibliografía profesional demuestra que la práctica es ineficaz para cambiar la orientación sexual o identidad de género y es dañina para los jóvenes. Los jóvenes que se han sometido a la terapia de conversión tienen un mayor riesgo de sufrir depresión, tener ideas suicidas, intentar suicidarse y consumir drogas ilegales. Según las disposiciones de la ley, todo proveedor de salud mental con licencia que practique la terapia de conversión quedará sujeto a medidas disciplinarias por parte de la agencia de licenciamiento apropiada.

Derechos de las personas transgénero | Atención médica | Nuevo Hampshire (Español)

Preguntas y respuestas sobre los derechos a la atención médica de las personas transgénero en Nuevo Hampshire

¿Los planes de salud pueden discriminar a las personas LGBT?

En general, de conformidad con la ley federal y del estado de Nuevo Hampshire, casi todos los planes de salud tienen prohibido discriminar por motivos de sexo y, dado que el fallo de la Corte Suprema en el caso Bostock v. Clayton Co. concluyó que toda discriminación por identidad de género u orientación sexual es una forma de discriminación por sexo, casi todos los planes de salud tienen prohibido discriminar a las personas LGBTQ.

¿Qué protecciones para planes de salud establece Nuevo Hampshire?

Ley de Nuevo Hampshire

La Ley Revisada Anotada (Revised Statutes Annotated, RSA) 415:15 prohíbe “la discriminación por motivos de identidad de género con respecto a la disponibilidad de servicios cubiertos, medicamentos, insumos o equipos médicos duraderos”.

La sección VIII(b) de la RSA 417:4 prohíbe “la discriminación por motivos de identidad de género con respecto a la disponibilidad de servicios cubiertos, medicamentos, insumos o equipos médicos duraderos”.

La Ley de Declaración de Derechos de los Pacientes, en la sección XVI de la RSA 151:21, establece lo siguiente:

“No se le podrá denegar la atención médica apropiada al paciente por motivos de edad, sexo, identidad de género, orientación sexual, raza, color de piel, estado civil, situación familiar, discapacidad, religión, nacionalidad, fuente de ingresos, fuente de pago o profesión”.

Departamento de Seguros de Nuevo Hampshire

Sobre la base de las leyes que se mencionaron anteriormente, en 2020, el Departamento de Seguros de Nuevo Hampshire emitió un boletín que establecía, en parte, lo siguiente:

“… las aseguradoras tienen prohibido denegar la cobertura de servicios necesarios desde el punto de vista médico, excluirla o limitarla de otra manera por la identidad de género de una persona. Todo servicio, medicamento, insumo o equipo médico duradero que ofrezca una política o un contrato de un seguro médico se debe proporcionar a todas las personas a las cuales un profesional médico, tras consultar al paciente particular, haya indicado que los servicios son necesarios desde el punto de vista médico(…) Las aseguradoras deben basar las decisiones de cobertura en la necesidad médica y no en la identidad de género de una persona. El Departamento considera que las exclusiones generales de una política de servicios de atención médica relacionados con la transición de género u otro tipo de tratamiento para la disforia de género infringen la sección VIII(b) de la RSA 417:4 y la RSA 415:15 porque discriminan por identidad de género”.

Medicaid de Nuevo Hampshire

En 2017, el Comité Legislativo Conjunto sobre Reglas Administrativas (Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, JLCAR) aprobó los reglamentos propuestos por el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Sociales que ponían fin a la exclusión discriminatoria de la cobertura de Medicaid de cirugías de afirmación de género.

La cobertura de Medicaid de Nuevo Hampshire incluye los siguientes servicios de afirmación de género siempre y cuando exista documentación que respalde la necesidad médica:

  • Mastectomía
  • Mastoplastia de aumento
  • Histerectomía
  • Salpingectomía
  • Ooforectomía
  • Cirugía de reconstrucción genital

¿Existen planes de salud que no estén protegidos por la ley de Nuevo Hampshire?

Sí. Medicare y los planes de salud de empleadores autofinanciados (también conocidos como “autoasegurados”) están regulados por la ley federal.

¿Qué protecciones para planes de salud establece el gobierno federal?


En 2013, Medicare eliminó la prohibición de la cobertura del tratamiento de la disforia de género por ser “experimental” y comenzó a cubrir el tratamiento necesario desde el punto de vista médico para la disforia de género.

Artículo 1557 de la Ley de Atención Médica Asequible

El artículo 1557 de la Ley de Atención Médica Asequible (Affordable Care Act, ACA) establece que es ilegal que un profesional de atención médica que recibe fondos del gobierno federal se niegue a tratar a una persona, o discrimine de otra manera a una persona, por su sexo (así como por su raza, color de piel, nacionalidad, edad o discapacidad). El artículo 1557 impone requisitos similares para las aseguradoras de salud que reciben asistencia financiera federal. Los profesionales de atención médica y las aseguradoras tienen prohibido, entre otras cosas, excluir o tratar de forma adversa a una persona por cualquiera de estos motivos prohibidos. La disposición final del artículo 1557 se aplica a los beneficiarios de asistencia financiera del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Sociales (Department of Health and Human Services, HHS), los Mercados de Seguros Médicos y los programas de salud que administra el HHS.

Por lo general, el artículo 1557 no se aplica a planes de salud grupales autofinanciados de conformidad con la Ley de Seguridad de los Ingresos de los Jubilados (Employee Retirement Income Security Act, ERISA) o planes de duración limitada o a corto plazo porque las entidades que ofrecen los planes no suelen estar principalmente comprometidas con el negocio de brindar atención médica ni reciben asistencia financiera federal.

En mayo de 2021, la gestión de Biden anunció que la Oficina de Derechos Civiles (Office for Civil Rights, OCR) del HHS interpretaría que el artículo 1557 de la ACA y los requisitos de no discriminación del título IX basados en el sexo incluyen la orientación sexual y la identidad de género, y que haría respetar esto último. La actualización se implementó en el contexto de la decisión que tomó la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos en el caso Bostock v. Clayton County en junio de 2020 y las decisiones posteriores de la corte.

Al implementar el artículo 1557, la OCR respetará la Ley de Restablecimiento de la Libertad Religiosa (Religious Freedom Restoration Act), sección 2000bb y subsiguientes del título 42 del Código de los Estados Unidos (United States Code, USC), y todos los demás requisitos legales y órdenes del tribunal que se emitieron en litigios que involucraban las disposiciones del artículo 1557.

Título VII

El título VII les prohíbe a los empleadores que tienen 15 empleados o más discriminar por motivos de raza, color de piel, religión, sexo y nacionalidad en la contratación, el despido, el pago y otros términos, condiciones o privilegios del empleo. Los términos y las condiciones del empleo incluyen los beneficios de salud solventados por el empleador. Históricamente, no todas las autoridades han estado de acuerdo en que el título VII protege a los trabajadores LGBTQ de la discriminación.

Sin embargo, la decisión de la Corte Suprema en el caso Bostock v. Clayton Co. cambia esta situación porque la resolución dejó en claro que la discriminación por orientación sexual e identidad de género es una forma de discriminación por sexo. Aunque la decisión se relaciona con el despido indebido, tiene consecuencias en los planes de salud solventados por el empleador y otros beneficios. Por ejemplo, los empleadores podrían querer ajustar la cobertura de los planes de salud grupales para la disforia de género y los servicios relacionados, incluidas las cirugías de afirmación de género, y revisar y comparar los beneficios para cónyuges del mismo sexo y del sexo opuesto.

¿Los empleadores religiosos pueden discriminar a las personas LGBT?

El 8 de julio de 2020, en el caso Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos reafirmó su posición en la implementación de la excepción ministerial en casos de discriminación en el empleo que se estableció en resoluciones anteriores. Esto implicó que, de forma simultánea, la Corte planteara una problemática sin resolver en virtud el título VII: ¿la excepción ministerial para empleadores religiosos les permite a esas organizaciones discriminar a los empleados o candidatos a puestos de empleo por su condición de LGBTQ?

En este punto, no queda claro de qué manera la resolución de la Corte en el caso Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru puede afectar a los empleados LGBTQ de empleadores religiosos, pero las organizaciones y los empleadores religiosos deberían reconocer que la excepción ministerial no se aplica a todos los puestos de sus organizaciones. Por el contrario, se limita solo a aquellos empleados que llevan a cabo obligaciones realmente religiosas. Por ejemplo, el puesto de un conserje escolar que solo está presente en el edificio fuera del horario escolar y no es responsable de transmitir la fe no se consideraría de naturaleza ministerial.

¿Qué pasos puedo seguir para obtener la cobertura del tratamiento de disforia de género?

1. Primero, verifique si su plan de salud cubre el tipo de tratamiento que desea; para ello, consiga una copia del “Resumen de beneficios y cobertura” del plan.

2. La mayoría de los planes de seguro, tanto públicos como privados, tienen requisitos detallados que se deben satisfacer para obtener la cobertura. Esto es así, en particular, si está intentando obtener cobertura para una cirugía relacionada con la transición. Por eso, comuníquese con su plan de salud y solicite una copia de los requisitos del tratamiento que desea.

3. Trabaje con sus terapeutas y médicos para asegurarse de que reúne todos los requisitos del plan de salud. Para determinar si su solicitud de tratamiento será aprobada, el factor más importante es la documentación proporcionada por sus terapeutas y médicos.

4. Verifique qué tratamientos requieren aprobación previa. En la mayoría de los casos, cualquier cirugía requiere aprobación previa y es posible que el plan solo pague si recurre a un cirujano que acepta el plan.

5. Si su solicitud de tratamiento es denegada, averigüe los motivos de la denegación y, si cree que de todos modos califica para el tratamiento, siga el proceso de apelación del plan. Por lo general, primero se llevará a cabo un proceso de apelación interno y, si no obtiene un resultado satisfactorio en esta instancia, en ocasiones, podrá apelar ante una agencia externa. Asegúrese de respetar los plazos, ya que, si no lo hace, podría perder la posibilidad de apelar.

6. Informe a GLAD si le deniegan un tratamiento. GLAD podría hacerle sugerencias que lo ayuden a ganar la apelación. Puede comunicarse con GLAD Answers completando el formulario en GLAD Answers o por teléfono llamando al 800-455-GLAD (4523).

7. Aunque ahora más planes de salud cubren el tratamiento de la disforia de género, el proceso para obtener el tratamiento, en particular, para obtener la cirugía relacionada con la transición, puede llevar tiempo y causarle frustraciones. Se necesita mucha documentación y puede ser difícil encontrar un cirujano que realice este tipo de cirugía y que sea aceptable para el plan de salud. 8. No tenga miedo de ser persistente y de volver a presentar una solicitud si recibe una respuesta negativa.

¿Cómo encuentro un cirujano que acepte mi seguro de salud?

Cada vez más cirujanos que realizan cirugías de reasignación de sexo aceptan seguros médicos. Busque cirujanos de forma minuciosa para encontrar el adecuado para usted. Puede consultar la lista de profesionales de la red de su plan para saber si forman parte de ella o si la lista incluye cirujanos en su área. Otra opción consiste en comunicarse con el consultorio del cirujano para preguntar si aceptan su seguro. La mayoría de los planes de seguro médico exigen que recurra a un profesional médico de su red; sin embargo, si su red no incluye un cirujano que preste los servicios que usted necesita, es posible que pueda recurrir a alguien fuera de la red si solicita la autorización previa del plan.

¿Qué debería hacer si el sector sanitario me discrimina?

Si está siendo discriminado por un centro o un prestador de atención médica, puede presentar una queja por discriminación ante la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Nuevo Hampshire. Consulte el Área de problemas de “discriminación” para obtener información detallada sobre cómo hacerlo.

Si tiene un plan de salud regulado por el Departamento de Seguros de Nuevo Hampshire, puede presentar una queja ante esa agencia: Departamento de Seguros de Nuevo Hampshire: presentación de quejas.

Si tiene un plan de salud regulado por el artículo 1557 de la ACA, puede presentar una queja ante la Oficina de Derechos Civiles del Departamento federal de Salud y Servicios Sociales. Para obtener más información, consulte Cómo presentar una queja de derechos civiles. Si tiene un plan de salud autofinanciado a través de su empleador que tiene como mínimo 15 empleados, puede presentar una queja por discriminación ante la Comisión federal de Igualdad en las Oportunidades de Empleo (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC). Para obtener más información, consulte el Área de problemas de “discriminación”.

Justicia penal | Hostigamiento policial | Nuevo Hampshire (Español)

Preguntas y respuestas sobre el hostigamiento policial en Nuevo Hampshire

Con frecuencia, la policía me pide que “me retire” de áreas públicas. ¿Es legal?

No necesariamente. Si el área es pública y no hay carteles en los que se indique que hay horarios específicos, por lo general, tiene derecho a permanecer allí siempre y cuando no realice actividades ilegales. Los lugares públicos son de todos y, además, suelen ser lugares de acogida al público sujetos a la ley contra la discriminación de Connecticut. Incluso si un oficial de policía quiere impedir un delito, o tiene sospechas de algún tipo de intención ilegal, no tiene derecho general a pedirles a las personas que se desplacen de un lugar a otro, a menos que se esté llevando a cabo una conducta ilegal.

¿Cuáles son las reglas generales sobre la interacción con la policía?

La presencia de personas que parecen ser LGBTQ+, ya sea porque exhiben símbolos como banderas con los colores del arcoíris, un triángulo rosa o por otra razón, no debe desencadenar ningún escrutinio especial por parte de un oficial de policía.

Claro que la policía puede acercarse a una persona y hacerle preguntas, pero el hecho de que una persona haya sido condenada por un delito anterior, se niegue a responder o responda de una manera que no satisface al oficial no podrá justificar su arresto sin más.

Si un oficial tiene “sospechas razonables y articulables” de que se ha cometido un delito o de que está por cometerse, podrá arrestar brevemente a la persona o detenerla con fines de investigación. Sin embargo, una detención solo se puede realizar si existen “fundamentos probables” de que se ha cometido un delito.

¿Qué puedo hacer si creo que la policía me trató de forma inapropiada?

Hay varios lugares a los que puede llamar para hablar sobre sus opciones. Uno es GLAD Answers: 1-800-455-GLAD. Otro es la Unión de Libertades Civiles de Nuevo Hampshire: (603) 225-3080.

Se pueden presentar quejas ante cualquier departamento de policía particular por asuntos relativos a sus oficiales. Además, puede ponerse en contacto con la línea de ayuda disponible las 24 horas de la Fiscalía General llamando al (603) 271-1241.

Pueden presentarse quejas ante la policía estatal de Nuevo Hampshire en la Sede Policial del estado por teléfono o por escrito. Un supervisor lo llamará para continuar procesando la queja. Si la policía del estado adopta más medidas con respecto a la queja, tendrá que acercarse a la oficina para hacer una declaración por escrito. Comuníquese con la Sede Policial del estado, 33 Hazen Dr., Concord, NH 03305, (603) 223-3858. Informe a GLAD siempre que presente una queja para que podamos hacer un seguimiento de la capacidad de respuesta de varios departamentos de policía.

En algunos casos, puede decidir iniciar una demanda por lesiones, detención inadecuada u otro motivo. Estos asuntos son muy especializados y GLAD puede derivarlo a un abogado. También puede presentar quejas ante la División Penal de la Fiscalía General llamando al (603) 271-3658. Es posible que participen en una investigación o que deriven el asunto al jefe del departamento de policía particular en cuestión.


Defending LGBTQ+ Inclusion and the Freedom to Learn in Our Public Schools

Public schools are under attack in the US

Spurred on by extremist politicians, a small but vocal minority is seeking to undo schools as student-centered places where young people are safe and engaged in learning what they need to succeed in life — under the banner of “parents’ rights.” In addition to putting students at risk, these efforts seek to extend the parental preferences of some into every classroom and add to the already heavy burden borne by the teachers and other professionals who work tirelessly every day to support and educate kids.

At least 177 bills have been introduced in state legislatures this session, many of which also explicitly or implicitly target LGBTQ+ and other vulnerable students for exclusion and surveillance or making them invisible, such as with “CRT” bans. These bills are part of a coordinated, national effort at work in New England, too. In Maine, for instance, we have already opposed 18 different bills targeting education, with more to come, while also supporting counselor/social worker to student confidentiality and rulemaking addressing discrimination. In Rhode Island, we’ve seen at least nine such bills. Fortunately, the efforts of GLAD, our state partners, pro-equality legislators, and community members have been able to slow or stop most of these bills in New England, but we are not done and cannot let our guard down.

These bills run the gamut. Some attempt to police what books are available in school or classroom libraries, stifling student learning and denying them the opportunities for discovery and to see themselves and their families and friends represented. Many of the bills attempt to micromanage curriculum, even when already locally approved with public input, by insisting that teachers must accommodate parental preferences and allow broad opt-outs from whatever a particular parent might believe is “divisive” or against their values. Some would ban schools from using different names, nicknames, or pronouns at school and require monitoring of students for “changes” that must then be reported to parents, with parents obtaining a private right to sue to enforce this vague requirement. Still others aim to censor discussion of any topics related to race or sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity, restricting students’ ability to learn a fuller picture of American history and values, develop critical thinking skills, and learn to take their places in our democracy. In the end, schools are student-centered for a reason: Schools are for young people. The information parents want is also largely available from the school or school system website, the child’s school account, from talking with teachers and state, and from existing information required to be provided to parents under state and federal laws.

In addition to making the case to the people’s representatives as they seek to make or change laws, GLAD, along with the ACLU of NH, Disability Rights Center — NH, and the National Educators Association — NH chapter, is in court continuing to challenge a related New Hampshire law that vaguely defines race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity as “divisive concepts,” discouraging teachers from saying anything that might imperil their teaching licenses, all to the detriment of students. School district DEI professionals in New Hampshire report that the law is causing confusion and fear for teachers, stifling teaching on essential topics, and creating greater isolation for students. A federal judge denied the state’s motion to dismiss our lawsuit in January because of its inevitable connection to teacher censorship, saying, “Given the severe consequences that teachers face if they are found to have taught or advocated a banned concept, plaintiffs have pleaded a plausible claim that the amendments are unconstitutionally vague.”

Beyond restrictions on class materials and discussion, another dangerous trend is gaining a troubling amount of traction this year – bills and targeted litigation aimed at forcing schools to “out” LGBTQ+ students and cutting them off from the support of trusted adults they rely on at school.

In New England, we’ve directly contested these bills in Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire and are working with our state partners to stop them.

In New Hampshire, GLAD and our coalition partners narrowly but soundly defeated such a bill in May. SB 272 purposely singled out transgender and gender nonconforming youth to be surveilled and reported on by school staff, including any request to use a different name or pronoun, change in a student’s gender presentation, or attendance at a GSA meeting. With the bill’s defeat, New Hampshire has affirmed that schools should be a space of safety for LGBTQ+ students and that they can have conversations with their families when they are ready to do so. In Maine, we are also working with partners and providing extensive legal background explaining how these bills, if passed, would disrupt or deny the legally acknowledged obligations of schools to manage their learning environments and of students’ rights to equal educational opportunity. In Rhode Island, we have likewise joined with partners to speak out against several bills that threaten schools and teachers with penalties for not complying with vague requirements to allow virtually any individual parent to dictate school lesson plans, as well as bills aimed at removing teachers’ and school staff’s ability to support LGBTQ+ students in school.

To be clear, we support parents and their involvement in schools. A strong parent-child relationship is a lifelong protective factor. But these bills use the language of “parents’ rights” to impose specific parental preferences on how public schools operate their day-to-day activities and meet their obligation to support and provide an equal education for all students.

Two non-binary students doing work together in class
Photo by The Gender Spectrum Collection

We are also working to defend positive school policies in the courts. GLAD and ACLU-NH filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the New Hampshire Supreme Court in Doe v. Manchester School District, supporting a lower court ruling upholding the district’s policy of supporting transgender students. That policy includes referring to students by their requested names and pronouns and maintaining student privacy when appropriate. Our brief notes the school’s legal obligation to ensure students can learn no matter who they are and their right to control the learning environment to do so. The brief also cites substantial research showing that a positive school climate that fosters a sense of safety, belonging, and respect is optimal for learning. Lawsuits like these show that some parents, despite asserting parental rights, seek to have the school insert itself into family relationships with “outing” and reporting to parents on student behavior at school.

As GLAD Attorney Chris Erchull explained, “Forcing schools to disclose information against a student’s wishes takes away a trusted source of support from transgender and gender nonconforming students and shuts down the opportunity for an important, voluntary conversation between the child and parent when the student is ready.” GLAD is also engaged in the pending 1st Circuit case, Foote v. Ludlow Public Schools, raising many of the same issues. Read our Ludlow brief here.

GLAD submitted a friend-of-the-court brief with the Massachusetts Superintendents Association in the District Court, which dismissed the case in December. GLAD will continue its involvement at the First Circuit, where the question remains whether the parents have adequately alleged facts to make a legal claim so that they can proceed with the litigation and try to prove their case of a violation of their rights. All rulings in this legal area are consequential. Parents and schools can and should be natural allies when it comes to ensuring students are safe, protected, and able to learn what they need to succeed in life. The current wave of attacks on schools, libraries, and LGBTQ+ students is only creating false conflicts between parents and schools at a time when we should all be focused on ensuring that every young person, including LGBTQ+ youth, can learn and thrive in a safe environment while at school.

This story was originally published in the Summer 2023 GLAD Briefs newsletter. Read more.


Bernier v. Turbocam: Religion Cannot Be a Justification for Employment Discrimination

A business owner’s religious beliefs must never be a legal justification to deprive an employee of necessary healthcare. But Lillian Bernier’s employer is trying to skirt its obligation to treat all its staff equally based on a claim of religious exemption. The company treats Lillian differently because she’s transgender, denying her equal healthcare benefits by refusing to cover her medically-necessary, transition-related care.

Lillian dedicates her time, expertise, and commitment to her job, and like anyone, she expects fairness and equal treatment to be part of the deal. That means equal pay for equal work and equal access to benefits from her employer — whatever the religious views of the company’s owner. Anything less than equal treatment is unfair and harmful discrimination, which violates state and federal law.

A photo of Lillian Bernier with her dog.
A photo of Lillian Bernier with her dog. Photo by Matty V clixpix

Lillian was born and raised in New Hampshire, where she is now raising two children. She supports her family as a machinist at Turbocam, Inc, where she’s worked since June 2019, making precision parts for the aviation and related industries. Turbocam is an international manufacturer of engine parts with over 900 employees. According to its website, Turbocam “exists as a business for the purpose of honoring God” and holds itself “accountable to God’s law expressed in the Bible.”

Lillian has been recognized for her dedication with multiple promotions and worked the night shift through the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns. When she sought treatment for gender dysphoria in 2020, she discovered that her employer-funded medical plan excludes coverage for the healthcare she needs. As a result, she was forced to pay out of pocket for some necessary medical care and delayed scheduling recommended surgery, even though putting off her care goes against her doctor’s advice.

Lillian shouldn’t have to find another job just to get the healthcare she needs. She just wants to be treated equally to her colleagues. “I’m proud of my work as a machinist at Turbocam,” says Lillian. “Like everyone else, I rely on the pay and healthcare coverage from my job to support myself and my family. I’m just asking for fair coverage and to be treated the same as my coworkers.” When her employer refused to cover her care, Lillian came to GLAD for support.

GLAD filed a lawsuit on behalf of Lillian on December 16, 2022, Bernier v. Turbocam. In response to our filing, lawyers for the large, international, and highly profitable manufacturer claim Turbocam is acting consistent with its “Mission, faith and the law” to justify its blanket transgender healthcare exclusion. But our state and federal nondiscrimination laws require equal treatment in employment — including in the provision of benefits — and businesses should not be able to use the owner’s beliefs to defend mistreating LGBTQ+ employees in a job that has nothing to do with religion.

We are also suing a company that profits from Turbocam’s discriminatory health benefits plan. Health Plans, Inc., a Massachusetts-based Harvard Pilgrim insurance company, contracts with Turbocam to administer its health benefits plan. Without Health Plans, Inc.’s expertise and services, Turbocam’s unlawful employment practices would not be possible.

“Our client is seeking the same opportunity everyone deserves to do her job, take care of her health, and be treated fairly by her employer,” said GLAD Senior Director of Litigation Ben Klein when the lawsuit was filed. “Turbocam and Health Plans, Inc. are denying her equal employment benefits because she is a transgender woman. That’s wrong, and it violates the law.”

Turbocam has the responsibility that all employers do — to treat its employees equally and fairly. “Providing lesser health benefits to transgender workers is employment discrimination,” said GLAD Attorney Chris Erchull at the time of the filing. “By maintaining a blanket exclusion of coverage for healthcare related to gender transition, Turbocam is trying to sidestep the law. Lillian has dedicated her time and energy to the company, including working onsite throughout the COVID pandemic. She is simply asking to be treated with the same dignity, humanity, and fairness as other employees.”

Lillian should be treated the same as her coworkers and be able to get the healthcare her doctor recommends. As our lawsuit continues, GLAD will work to ensure that she and other employees can make decisions about their health without their employer interfering and that religion is not used as a justification for discrimination.

This story was originally published in the Summer 2023 GLAD Briefs newsletter. Read more.


NH House Indefinitely Postpones Bill That Would Have Forcibly “Outed” LGBTQ+ Students

Advocates Declare “Victory for Questioning and LGBTQ+ Students”

Today, the New Hampshire State House voted 195-190 to defeat SB 272, a so-called “parental bill of rights” that would have required forced outing about students who are questioning or part of the LGBTQ community.

“Questioning and LGBTQ+ students can breathe a sigh of relief today that schools in New Hampshire will continue to be places where they can safely be who they are,” said Linds Jakows, Founder of 603 Equality. “State Representatives did the right thing and listened to the voices of LGBTQ+ teens, especially closeted teens with unsupportive families. New Hampshire schools must remain places where all students, including LGBTQ students, can live free and learn.”

Statements from LGBTQ+, public education, and child welfare advocates:

“Today the House reaffirmed New Hampshire’s bedrock values of freedom and fairness for all,” said Chris Erchull, Attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. “We’re grateful to the legislators who carefully considered SB 272, heard the stories of LGBTQ youth and their families, and concluded it is an unnecessary and dangerous bill that singles out transgender and gender nonconforming students for targeted surveillance. Parents already have opportunities to partner with schools on the education of their children, as they should. Rejecting legislation that would take away important sources of safety and support from kids is the right move for New Hampshire.”

“We are overjoyed that the New Hampshire House stood up for keeping public schools places where all Granite State students can feel safe by voting down SB 272,” said Deb Howes, President of AFT-New Hampshire. “We shouldn’t be adding ‘informant’ to teachers’ job descriptions. Teachers don’t want to be enlisted in culture wars. They want to be there to support all students when students need it. It’s up to the Legislature to support our students, parents, teachers and public schools, not put them in a position of surveillance.”

Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, Executive Director, NH Council of Churches, said, “The defeat of SB 272 today is a faithful move to support all of New Hampshire’s students, particularly LGBTQ+ students who are especially at risk. We believe every child is made in the image of God and deserve access to spaces and places where they can thrive. Ensuring students can engage in sacred conversations about identity on a timeline of their own choosing allows that to happen. The parent-child relationship is built on trust, and not unnecessary interference.”

“We thank the members of the House who once again voted against advancing this harmful legislation, which would have unfairly targeted and discriminated against LGBTQ+ youth in New Hampshire,” said Courtney Reed, Policy Advocate at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “Granite State students should not have to fear being themselves at school and deserve to be able to talk about their identities when and if they are ready. In New Hampshire, all students belong–and we thank lawmakers for reinforcing that value today.”

Erin George-Kelly, Director of Youth Services with Waypoint, said, “Today the New Hampshire House stood up for children when it refused to pass a harmful bill, SB 272. People may assume that establishing something called a “parents’ bill of rights” means connecting loving, caring, and supportive parents with what is occurring within their child’s educational setting. However, the reality is that the passage of this bill would have put some of LGBTQ+ children in danger of neglect and abuse at home, or of homelessness because their parents do not approve of or accept their sexual orientation or gender identity. New Hampshire’s youth deserve better and today we are thankful the House voted to defeat SB 272.”

“We applaud House members for sending a strong message today that LGBTQ+ students belong in New Hampshire and in our schools,” said Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Campaign Director with Granite State Progress. “This vote is exactly in line with school board election and town meeting results across the state, where voters have overwhelmingly rejected attacks on LGBTQ+ students and instead supported the freedom for every student to have a safe, affirming learning environment.”

“We are delighted that a bipartisan majority of Representatives saw this bill for what it truly was – an attempt to target LGBTQ+ students and educators – and voted to defeat it. SB 272 would have poisoned the trusting relationship parents and educators have cultivated in New Hampshire and put our LGBTQ+ students at risk. We are pleased with today’s vote,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-New Hampshire President. “As educators, we want all students to have the freedom to be themselves and pursue their dreams,” said Tuttle.

“Today, we won because LGBTQ teens and young adults told their most personal stories to the New Hampshire House – and representatives listened,” said Erika Perez, Political Director, New Hampshire Youth Movement. “Today, representatives saw this bill for what it always was, a false frame designed to target LGBTQ+ youth.”

“We’re all breathing a sigh of relief today that schools will remain safe for New Hampshire’s LGBTQ+ youth,” said Jessica Goff, Community Outreach and Education Coordinator with Seacoast Outright. “We thank every representative who voted for students to freely express who they are.”

“The health and well-being of our state’s LGBTQ+ youth is safe today because representatives refused to play into a false frame that would have allowed parents to sue individual teachers – with no limit to how long after the student has left the school,” said Liz Canada, Advocacy Director of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “We thank all legislators who protected the lives and futures of LGBTQ teens by voting down SB 272.”

2023 Pride Events

About the Events

It’s Pride season and we can’t wait to celebrate at Pride events across New England! If you will be attending any of the events below, we hope you will stop by our GLAD table to say hello, check out some resources, and grab some free GLAD swag.

And don’t miss us this fall at Hartford Pride on September 9 and Worcester Pride on September 10!


Lower court already found the Manchester school district policy to be in line with state and federal constitutional requirements and state and federal law.

Lower court already found the Manchester school district policy to be in line with state and federal constitutional requirements and state and federal law. 

The New Hampshire state Supreme Court heard oral argument today in Doe v. Manchester School District, regarding the district’s policy of providing support for transgender students. That policy includes referring to students by their requested names and pronouns and maintaining student privacy when appropriate.

The case is before the state’s high court on appeal from a lower court ruling which upheld the policy, finding it to be in line with state and federal constitutional requirements and state and federal law.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the ACLU of New Hampshire submitted a brief to the Court highlighting the vital educational interests served by the Manchester School District’s policy of supporting and affirming the gender identity of students at school. The brief cites substantial research showing that a positive school climate that fosters a sense of safety, belonging, and respect is optimal for learning and has deep and long-lasting effects for every child who experiences it.

GLAD and ACLU-NH’s friend-of-the-court brief also cautions against reversing public schools’ long-understood discretion in disclosing information about student identity exploration and underscores how a bright-line ruling mandating that schools “out” transgender students to parents without regard to the student’s circumstances would inappropriately and sometimes harmfully insert schools into parent-child relationships. Such a mandate would also deter students from seeking support and sharing information at school, and would negatively impact the learning environment of all students.

“By maintaining a policy of affirming and supporting transgender students, the Manchester district is meeting its obligation to provide a safe and welcoming educational environment for all students,” said Chris Erchull, Attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. “New Hampshire’s public schools work in partnership with parents but forcing schools to disclose information against a student’s wishes takes away a trusted source of support from transgender and gender nonconforming students and inserts the school into family life in a manner that shuts down the opportunity for an important conversation between the child and parent.”

“LGBTQ+ students in the Granite State should not have to fear being themselves at school and deserve to be able to talk about their identities with their parents when they are ready,” said Henry Klementowicz, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “Removing the Manchester School District’s current affirming policy would create an environment where LGBTQ+ students don’t feel safe being who they are—and in school, they should feel safe, cared for, and able to learn to the best of their ability. No one should be forcibly outed, and the Granite State must support students by protecting their rights to free expression and privacy.”

Among those joining GLAD and the ACLU-NH on their brief to the state Supreme Court in support of the Manchester district’s policy are three Directors of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice for New Hampshire public schools in their individual capacities, as well as parent Heather Romeri and her son Nico, a New Hampshire high school student.

“Of course I want my child to feel he can talk to me about anything, but above all I want him to feel safe and happy,” said parent Heather Romeri. “I understand that he needed to be able to talk about what he was going through with others before he came to me, and I’m so glad he had that chance, just as I am glad that he had the chance to see how much his family loves and supports him once he was ready to come to us.”

“It was important for me to have the support of other people I could trust to help me feel ready to talk to my parents, especially people who could help make it easier for me to talk to my mom,” said Nico Romeri, New Hampshire transgender high school student. “Transgender students want the same opportunity to learn and be ourselves, just like any kid, without having to worry that adults at school will violate our trust. If someone had decided to tell my mom what they thought about my gender, it would have made things so much harder for me at school and at home.”

Doe v. Manchester School District is being heard as the New Hampshire House prepares to vote on SB 272, a bill that would require public schools in New Hampshire to surveil and track information about transgender and gender-nonconforming students and to report that information to parents without regard to the student’s circumstances. SB 272 is one of more than 500 bills introduced in state legislatures across the country seeking to limit the rights of LGBTQ people. Most of those bills specifically target transgender youth.