An Open Letter on SB272 from NH’s Clergy and Faith Leaders

Dear Legislators,

We, the undersigned clergy and faith leaders, represent a broad and deep coalition of interfaith clergy and key faith leaders across the state whose faiths compel us to stand for the worth and dignity of every human being (especially the marginalized and the vulnerable of our state).

This legislative session has produced multiple pieces of legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community, and in particular, our transgender youth. Soon, the house will vote on SB272, NH’s version of parental bill of rights legislation. We agree with the authors of this legislation that the relationship between parents, caregivers, and teachers works best with strong, open communication. Such communication is grounded in our students having access to appropriate confidentiality with their teachers as trusted adults.

However, we are deeply concerned that this legislation targets our transgender youth for increased monitoring and surveillance at school. This legislation, while perhaps well intended, puts an already vulnerable group of youth at extraordinary risk of further harm. Statistics from the Trevor Project tell us that LGBTQ+ youth with one safe adult are 40% less likely to die by suicide. To quote our colleague, The Hon. Mo Baxley, if legislation puts even one child in NH at higher risk of suicide, then we must ITL. It is the moral, and ethical choice.

Our faiths are clear. LGBTQ+ people, especially youth, are created in the image of God. Their civil rights are sacred and must be protected. It is neither faithful, nor in keeping with NH’s longstanding tradition of freedom and personal liberty, to single out a marginalized group of students for increased surveillance at school. It is also inappropriate to do so based on one, narrowly defined set of religious beliefs. Indeed doing so is a dangerous conflation of religion and government intervention. Our laws cannot, and must not, privilege one religious perspective or identity over another. Acutely so when the health and safety of our youth is in question. To do so is death dealing.

We see countless examples in the Bible and other sacred texts that clearly command us to care for the vulnerable. Leviticus 19:18 commands us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” The book of Exodus to welcome the stranger, or those we might deem “other.” We are not to cause them harm, or to make their lives harder, but instead to show compassion, to seek understanding, and to craft systems that care for their well-being. SB272 seeks to do the opposite. This bill makes life harder, and furthers harm to a group of young people who are already deeply marginalized.

We encourage our legislators to vote “no” on SB272, and to return to the critical issues facing Granite Staters.


The Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, Executive Director, New Hampshire Council of Churches, Concord, NH

The Rev. Allison Palm, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua, NH, and President, New Hampshire Council of Churches, Concord, NH

The Rev. Suzanne Rude, One Spirit Interfaith, Unitarian Universalist, and Vice President, New Hampshire Council of Churches, Concord, NH 

The Rev. Kelly Turney, Sr Pastor, Main Street UMC, Nashua, NH, and Secretary, New Hampshire Council of Churches, Concord, NH

The Rt. Rev. Rob Hirschfeld, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of NH, Concord, NH

The Rev. Gordon Rankin, Conference Minister, NH Conference, United Church of Christ

The Rev. Sara Marean, Associate Conference Minister, NH Conference, United Church of Christ

The Rev. Steven Wilco, Associate to the Bishop for New Hampshire, New England Synod, ELCA

The Rev. Scott DeBlock, Resource Presbyter, Presbytery of Northern New England, PCUSA

The Rev. Taesung Kang, District Superintendent of the Granite District of the New England Annual Conference, UMC

The Rev. Mark Ferrin, Retired, American Baptist, Farmington, NH

The Rev. Ivy Ferrin, Retired, American Baptist, Farmington, NH

The Rev. Tara Olsen Allen, Pastor, Pilgrim Church, United Church of Christ, Brentwood, NH

Fr. Zachary Harmon, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Hampstead, NH

The Rev. David Grishaw-Jones, Pastor, Community Church of Durham, United Church of Christ

The Rev. Jennifer Mazur, Pastor, North Church of Portsmouth, NH 

The Rev. Elsa H. Worth, Priest, St. James Episcopal Church in Keene, NH

The Rev. David Keller, Pastor, West Congregational UCC, Concord, NH

The Rev. Eliza Tweedy, Pastor, First Church Congregational UCC, Rochester, NH

The Rev. Jason Wells, Rector, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Goffstown, NH

The Rev. Diane E. L. Wendorf, retired UCC minister, member, First Church Congregational UCC, Rochester

The Rev. Dr. E. C. Heath, Pastor, The Congregational Church in Exeter, UCC

Rabbi Beth Davidson, Temple Adath Yeshurun, Manchester, NH

The Reverend Dr. Marjorie Ann Gerbracht, Rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Manchester, NH

The Rev. Colin Chapman, Priest, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Londonderry, NH

The Rev. Shayna Appel, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Milford, NH

The Rev. Sarah Rockwell, Rector, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Manchester, NH

The Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney, Meriden Congregational Church, UCC, Meriden, NH 

The Rev. Jonathan Hopkins, Concordia Lutheran Church, Concord, NH

The Rev. Kurt A. Walker, Deerfield Community Church, Deerfield, NH

Rabbi Robin Nafshi, Temple Beth Jacob, Concord, NH

Rabbi Jennifer Marx Asch, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH

The Rev. Susan Clinkenbeard, Pastor, Fitzwilliam Community Church, Fitzwilliam, NH

Rabbi Joshua L. Segal, Emeritus, Congregation Betenu, Amherst, NH

The Rev. Dr. Leanne Tigert, UCC minister, Concord, NH

The Rev.Dr. Emily Geoghegan, UCC minister, Pastoral Counseling Services, Manchester,NH

Cantor Shira Nafshi, Temple Beth Jacob, Concord, NH and Temple Adath Yeshurun, Manchester, NH

The Rev. Kate Harmon Siberine, Rector of Grace Episcopal in Concord NH and Missioner of the Episcopal Mission of Franklin NH

The Rev. Kate Atkinson, Episcopal Diocese of NH

The Rev. Bevan C, Tulk,  Retired Chaplain, Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord, MH 

The Rev. Robert Grabill, Church of Christ at Dartmouth College, UCC, Hanover NH

Rabbi Daniel Aronson, Congregation Ahavas Achim, Keene, NH

The Rev. Michael Leuchtenberger, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord, NH

The Rev. Lyn Marshall, Minister of Faith Development, Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord, NH

The Rev. Allan Knight, Grace Episcopal Church, Manchester, NH

The Rev. Jane W Van Zandt, Grace Episcopal Church, Manchester, NH

The Rev. Linda Fraser, Pastor West Congregational UCC Concord, NH

The Rev. Sandra J. Whippie,  Minister Emerita, The Walpole Unitarian Church, Walpole, NH

The Rev. Mary A. James, retired UCC minister, Durham, New Hampshire

The Rev. Karl J Hester, Messiah Lutheran Church, Amherst, NH

The Rev. Chris Bartell, Regeneration Church, Exeter, NH 

Maggie Fogarty, AFSC-NH and Dover Friends Meeting, Dover, NH 

The Rev. Virginia Fryer, Pastor, Bow Mills United Methodist Church, Bow NH

The Rev. Cheryl Moore, St. Paul’s Church, Concord

The Rev. Dr. Deborah Roof, Senior Pastor and Teacher, First Parish Congregational Church, UCC, East Derry, NH

The Rev. Kit M Wang, Priest, Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Sanbornville NH

The Rev. Michael Reinke, Church of Our Saviour Episcopal, Milford NH

Brother Charles Edward OLW, Retired Deacon, St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Concord NH 

Rabbi Kaya Stern-Kaufman, Temple Israel, Portsmouth, NH

The Rev. Emily Burr, Retired Unitarian Universalist Minister

The Rev. John M. Gregory-Davis, Co-Pastor, Meriden Congregational Church, UCC, Meriden, NH

The Rev. Susan E. Gregory-Davis, Co-Pastor, Meriden Congregational Church, UCC, Meriden, NH

Rabbi Jonathan Spira-Savett, Temple Beth Abraham, Nashua, NH

The Rev. Patricia Marsden, Senior Pastor, Newmarket Community Church, Newmarket, NH

The Rev. Larry Brickner-Wood, Intentional Interim Minister, First Congregational Church of Wakefield, UCC, Wakefield, NH

Pastor Jennifer Savoy Hillside UMC, Goffstown NH and Contoocook UMC, Contoocook NH

The. Rev. Holly Tomilson, UCC minister, Deerfield, NH

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Melius, Coordinating Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Manchester, NH

Bob Stewart, Pastor St. Paul’s UMC and Londonderry UMC.

Pastor Deb Hoffman, Community Church of Sandwich, Ctr. Sandwich NH

The Rev. Eliot Fay, Nelson Congregational Church UCC, Nelson, NH

Sister Eileen Brady, RSM, Nashua, NH

The Rev. Paul Cullity, Madbury United Church of Christ, Madbury NH

The Rev. Annie Baker-Streevy, Pastor, St. James UMC, Merrimack, NH

The Rev. Dr. Janet Lombardo, Pastor, St. James and Good Shepherd, Laconia, NH

The Rev. Mark A. Rideout, retired UCC minister, Somersworth, NH

The Rev. Sue Frost, Pastor, Hampton United Methodist Church, Hampton, NH

The Rev. Cheryl Stromski, Pastor, Newfields Community Church, UCC, UUA, UMC Newfields, NH

The Rev. Westley Conn, Pastor, Stratham Community Church, UCC, Stratham, NH

The Rev. Carlos Jauhola-Straight, UCC, Pelham, NH

The Rev. Ariel Aaronson-Eves, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Franklin, Franklin, NH

Pastor Nathan Hall, Lutheran Church of the Nativity, North Conway, NH

The Rev. Michael Gelsomini, Pastor, United Church of Christ in North Hampton, North Hampton, NH

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas NH Justice Committee

Sister Rosemary Burnham, Hudson, NH

Sister Mary Ellen Foley, Manchester, NH

Sister Madonna Moran, Manchester, NH

Sister Assunta Riley, Nashua, NH

Sister Natalie McDonough, Goffstown, NH

Mercy Associate Kathy Upson, Brentwood, NH