RALEIGH – The North Carolina General Assembly today convened a $42,000 special session to introduce and pass House Bill 2, an unprecedented bill that overrides a recently passed LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance in Charlotte, prevents local governments from enacting a range of nondiscrimination and employment policies, and jeopardizes billions of dollars in federal funds that North Carolina schools receive through Title IX.
The Charlotte ordinance protected lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents from discrimination in public accommodations including restaurants, hotels, taxis and bathrooms. Among other protections, it allowed transgender men and transgender women to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity. HB2, which now goes to Governor Pat McCrory for his signature or veto, removes the ability of any local government to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and requires all public facilities, including schools, to allow restroom access only on the basis of “biological sex.” It also jeopardizes the more than $4.5 billion in federal funding that North Carolina receives for secondary and post-secondary schools under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination, including discrimination against transgender students.
“Rather than expand nondiscrimination laws to protect all North Carolinians, the General Assembly instead spent $42,000 to rush through an extreme bill that undoes all local nondiscrimination laws and specifically excludes gay and transgender people from legal protections,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “The manner in which legislators passed the most extreme anti-LGBT bill in the nation – voting hours after it was unveiled without adequate public debate – flies in the face of fairness and democracy. Legislators have gone out of their way to stigmatize and marginalize transgender North Carolinians by pushing ugly and fundamentally untrue stereotypes that are based on fear and ignorance and not supported by the experiences of more than 200 cities with these protections. Transgender men are men; transgender women are women. They deserve to use the appropriate restroom in peace, just like everyone else. We urge Governor McCrory to veto this extreme, far reaching and misguided bill.”
More than 200 cities, including Myrtle Beach and Columbia, South Carolina, have adopted nondiscrimination ordinances similar to Charlotte’s without negative consequences.
The North Carolina League of Municipalities, Attorney General Roy Cooper, Red Hat, and Dow Chemical were among those who came out in opposition to the bill today, in addition to major companies including Apple, Siemens, Microsoft, and AT&T who supported the Charlotte ordinance.
A Public Policy Polling survey released on March 22 showed widespread, bipartisan agreement among state voters that the legislature should leave Charlotte’s ordinance alone.