Case Name: Carcaño et al. v. Cooper et al.
The ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law, House Bill 2, just days after it passed on behalf of LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina. H.B. 2 banned many transgender people from restrooms and other public facilities matching their gender and prohibited local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In a victory for LGBTQ rights, a settlement was reached that stated people who are transgender cannot be prevented from using public restrooms and facilities that match their gender in state government buildings.
In August 2016, a federal court blocked the University of North Carolina from enforcing provisions of H.B. 2 against three transgender plaintiffs in the case, finding that the law likely violated Title IX.
On March 30, 2017, the General Assembly passed and Governor Roy Cooper signed H.B. 142, which repeals H.B. 2 in name but bars any protections for transgender people using restrooms or other facilities in schools or other state or local government buildings. It also prevents cities from passing any protections for employment discrimination or discrimination by places of public accommodation — for LGBT people or anyone — until 2020.
Update: On July 21, 2017, the ACLU and Lambda Legal filed an amended complaint that expands their federal lawsuit challenging H.B. 2 to, include a challenge to its discriminatory replacement, H.B. 142, which left many of the harms caused by H.B. 2 in place. The lawsuit added two LGBT North Carolinians as plaintiffs and includes claims for the damages inflicted by H.B. 2.
Update 2: On October 18, 2017, we announced a proposed settlement in the case under which North Carolina would finally affirm the right of transgender people to use facilities that match their gender. The judge in the case must agree to the terms of the proposed consent decree before it becomes law.
Update 3: On October 1, 2018, a federal court ruled that H.B. 142 does not bar transgender people from using public restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder also said that he would allow our challenge to the law’s ban on local LGBT nondiscrimination policies to go forward.
Final Update: On July 23, 2019, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder signed a consent decree that settled the three-year legal challenge to House Bill 2, and the law that replaced it, House Bill 142. The approved settlement resolves the portion of the case challenging the 2017 law that replaced H.B. 2. by stating that neither of those laws can be used to bar people who are transgender from North Carolina restrooms that match their gender. It does not resolve the portion of the case challenging the lawfulness of H.B. 2 for the period when it was in effect. Local non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people remain banned until December 2020.