On July 20th representatives from the CHRO attended the bill signing for Public Act 16-153, an Act Concerning the Military Department’s Nondiscrimination Laws.
The purpose of this bill is “to broaden the scope of the law barring discrimination in the state’s armed forces to more closely align with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities’ antidiscrimination laws and federal policies relating to the armed forces.”
Prior to the institution of this bill there was no explicit protections for state military
members against discrimination for national origin, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.
The bill will directly affect The Connecticut Military Department which has oversight over the four companies of the state militia, the Connecticut National Guard, and the Connecticut Air National guard.
In support of the bill CHRO Attorney Michael Roberts said that “the CHRO is firmly committed to the belief that no one should be prevented from realizing their full potential on the basis of an immutable characteristic. On front lines and assembly lines, in board rooms as well as classrooms, the doors should be open for everyone to have open for everyone to have an equal role in shaping the future.”
Governor Malloy praised the bill during the signing ceremony saying that “Connecticut has led the way on civil rights issues throughout the history of our nation and I am proud that we continue to do so today.”
Also present at the ceremony was the Lieutenant Governor, Nancy Wyman, several legislators, Capt. Mike Petersen, director of public affairs for the Connecticut National Guard and Major General Thaddeus Martin, who leads the Military Department for the State of Connecticut.
The CHRO is proud to have supported this bill; the full text of which can be found here. If someone you know is serving in or working for a part of the Connecticut Military Department pass along this information regarding the new protections and thank them for serving our state and protecting our nation.