The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal, groups that are representing LGBT North Carolinians in a federal lawsuit challenging House Bill 2, say they oppose a new proposal to repeal the law because it still enables discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
H.B. 2 bans many transgender people from restrooms matching their gender and prohibits local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. House Bill 186, would repeal H.B. 2, but replace it with a range of policies designed to restrict local authority and continue to allow discrimination against LGBT North Carolinians.
“Rather than repeal H.B. 2 entirely, this proposal still sanctions discrimination against transgender people and makes it harder for local governments to protect LGBT people under the law,” said Sarah Gillooly, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “Treating LGBT people as second-class citizens whose rights and equal protection can be put to a vote is disgraceful and will not undo the ongoing harm H.B.2 has brought to North Carolina and its people.”
“This proposed bill isn’t fooling anyone. LGBT people aren’t safe under HB 2 and they aren’t safe under this proposed bill either,” said Simone Bell, Southern Regional Director for Lambda Legal based in Atlanta. “The General Assembly is going to have to do better than this if their intention is to clean up the state’s anti-LGBT reputation. The repeal and replacement of HB 2 with a real non-discrimination bill, a bill that recognizes the contributions LGBT North Carolinians make to this state, is a critical and essential step forward.”
Explanation of House Bill 186
Under the newly introduced bill:
- H.B. 2 would be repealed
- Local governments would be prohibited from protecting transgender people in public facilities, such as restrooms
- Local governments that enact LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances could have those policies overturned by a referendum
- State law would explicitly exclude LGBT people from nondiscrimination protections in areas such as housing and employment
Background on Legal Challenge to House Bill 2
The ACLU and Lambda Legal lawsuit, Carcaño v. McCrory, was filed days after H.B. 2 was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by Governor Pat McCrory. In August 2016, a district court granted a request to stop the University of North Carolina from enforcing H.B. 2 against three transgender plaintiffs in the lawsuit. In granting the preliminary injunction, the court found that the challengers are likely to succeed in their argument that the law violates Title IX.
In the lawsuit, the groups argue that through the law, North Carolina sends a purposeful message that LGBT people are second-class citizens who are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded others in the state. Transgender individuals, in particular, are expelled from public life through H.B. 2’s mandate that they be forced out of restrooms and changing facilities that accord with who they are.
The complaint argues that H.B. 2 violates Title IX and Title VII by discriminating against students and school employees on the basis of sex. It also argues the law is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating on the basis of sex and sexual orientation and violates the privacy and medical decision making rights of transgender people.
To read more about the case: lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/nc_carcano-v-mccrory.