RALEIGH –The North Carolina legislature today convened for a special session where it failed to pass a bill repealing H.B. 2, the state’s sweeping anti-LGBT law.
Based on a promise from the General Assembly to fully repeal H.B. 2, the Charlotte City Council repealed their LGBT non-discrimination ordinances earlier this week. However, the Legislature failed to follow through on their promise, despite the deep and widespread opposition and outrage over the discriminatory nature of the law.
H.B. 2 bans transgender people from accessing restrooms and public facilities consistent with their gender identity and prevents local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. H.B. 2 is estimated to have cost North Carolina over $600 million in lost revenue from businesses concerned with the discriminatory nature of the law, and was a contributing factor in the election defeat of the outgoing Governor Pat McCrory.
“It is a shame that North Carolina’s General Assembly is refusing to clean up the mess they made. The support for the LGBT community from political leaders, faith leaders, businesses, and everyday people that has emerged this year will not fade. These attempts to expel transgender people from public life will not be tolerated,” said James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project. “The legislature may not be willing to undo their unconstitutional overreach and respect the rights of LGBT people, so we’ll just have to see them in court.”
“The General Assembly and the Governor McCrory are playing political chicken, and North Carolinians continue to lose for it. It is an outrage that North Carolina’s Republican lawmakers could not follow the mandate of the voters and repeal H.B. 2,” said Simone Bell, southern regional director at Lambda Legal. “As long as H.B. 2 is on the books, thousands of LGBT people who call North Carolina home, especially transgender people, are being discriminated against and will never feel safe. This was a counterproductive exercise in reaffirming to the rest of the country that North Carolina wants to remain mired in last year’s divisive dispute.”
The ACLU, 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.
With H.B. 2 in place, transgender North Carolinians are barred from using the restrooms they had used day in and day out without incident prior to the passage of the anti-trans measure in March. The repeal of H.B.2 would bring essential and immediate relief to transgender people across the state who have been put in the perilous position of being forced to avoid public restrooms or risk violation of state law.
“We will continue to fight in court for transgender people to access the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity and for equal protection for the entire LGBT community in North Carolina. State-sanctioned discrimination is unacceptable. LGBT North Carolinians and millions around the country are anxious to see an end to these dangerous displays of intolerance,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina.
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