Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Repeal H.B. 2, Expand LGBT Protections

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Repeal H.B. 2, Expand LGBT Protections

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Angela Gilmore and Joaquin Carcaño
Angela Gilmore and Joaquin Carcaño

North Carolina House representatives today introduced a bill that would fully repeal the state’s anti-LGBT law, House Bill 2, and expand state nondiscrimination laws for housing, employment, credit, insurance, public accommodations, and education to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender North Carolinians.

House Bill 82 was filed by Reps. Pricey Harrison, Susan Fisher, and Deb Butler.

H.B. 2, which became law in March 2016, bans many transgender people from restrooms matching their gender and prohibits local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and the law firm of Jenner & Block are challenging H.B. 2 in federal court on behalf of four LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina.

“It’s long past time for the General Assembly to repeal the hateful House Bill 2, which has brought so much harm to our state and its people, and to take much-needed steps toward protecting LGBT North Carolinians from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity in many areas of their lives,” said Sarah Gillooly, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “H.B. 2 has made LGBT people, who were already not fully protected under the law in North Carolina, even more vulnerable to targeting and discrimination. These new protections would bring us closer to guaranteeing that all North Carolinians are treated equally under the law.”

“H.B. 2 sends a terrible message that LGBT people, particularly transgender people, aren’t worthy of equal treatment. It’s a stain that continues to damage the economy as well as the image of North Carolina and its people,” said Simone Bell, Southern Regional Director at Lambda Legal.  “The repeal and replacement of H.B. 2 with this new bill, 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.”

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, click here.

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