Less than 12 Hours After Its Introduction, North Carolina Governor Signs Anti-LGBT Bill into LawBy Adam Polaski • March 24, 2016 • 9:15 am
During a legislative session that has seen the introduction of more than 150+ bills designed to codify discrimination against LGBT Americans in dozens of states, lawmakers today in the North Carolina General Assembly passed one of the worst, most extreme of those bills. The General Assembly approved HB2, and later in the night – less than 12 hours after the bill was introduced, Governor Pat McCrory signed it into law.
The bill runs rampant over local ordinances and targets transgender North Carolinians for particular harm. The legislature convened a special session at the cost of $42,000 a day to taxpayers to repeal a recently passed Charlotte ordinance that extended some nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people – but ended up passing a bill with far broader consequences.
Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe condemned the legislation after it was signed into law. He said:
With the stroke of a pen, Governor McCrory is torching his state’s reputation and intentionally exposing hundreds of thousands of LGBT people to harassment and discrimination. Governor McCrory’s decision to hastily sign this bill will undoubtedly have economic consequences, but more worrisome is the message it sends to LGBT people – particularly youth – across the state. North Carolina is now squarely on the wrong side of history. Every single person – including LGBT people – deserves fairness and equality under the law, and we won’t rest until we can make that a reality across this nation.”
— Freedom for All USA (@freedom4allusa) March 24, 2016
Earlier in the day, McTighe criticized the legislators who spent hours on Wednesday disparaging transgender people, denying them their identity and dignity. He said:
“It’s despicable that some lawmakers are talking about transgender Americans in such demeaning terms. Our elected officials, at all levels of government, should set an example that every single person deserves dignity, respect and fairness. We saw the exact opposite of that in Raleigh today, and unfortunately transgender people are the ones who will bear the brunt of this dishonest and irresponsible rhetoric.”
The bill has two egregious components: the first is a ‘Gender Inspection’ clause, which bars transgender people in North Carolina from using the bathroom in public schools and government buildings that matches the gender they live as every day. Instead, transgender residents and visitors are required to use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate. This conflicts with Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, and could cost North Carolina at least $4.5 billion in federal funds.
The second component of the bill voids Charlotte’s recent LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, and seeks to prevent other local municipalities from passing similar measures. It explicitly prohibits municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to classes beyond those currently covered under state law. LGBT North Carolinians enjoy zero nondiscrimination protections under current state law.