Hawaii became the 13th U.S. state to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity after Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a new employment discrimination bill into law on Tuesday.


House Bill 546 prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in employment and as a matter of public policy.

"Today is a great day for all residents of Hawaii," Alan Spector, Equality Hawaii co-chair, said after the state's legislature passed the bill. "Providing employment protections to transgender people in Hawaii is a victory for civil rights. The people of this state should be judged on the quality of work they do and not on who they are — that’s what this legislation guarantees."

California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Vermont, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia have similar anti-discrimination laws.

Recently, an Assistant Professor of English, Humanities and Literature at Southeastern Oklahoma State University was allegedly denied tenure and terminated because of her gender identity.

The university's vice president of academic affairs reportedly asserted that her lifestyle "offends his Baptist beliefs."