A new lawsuit filed in federal court yesterday (March 28) targets North Carolina’s infamous House Bill 2, which is widely condemned for overriding anti-discrimination ordinances enacted at the municipal and county levels. LGBTQ residents are especially hard hit by the new law.
"By singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, H.B. 2 violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution," reads the lawsuit, which Buzzfeed also says cites violation of rights guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX of the Education Act of 1972.
North Carolina state legislators met in a special session last Wednesday (March 23) to pass the bill. They specifically passed it in reaction to a Charlotte city ordinance that would have protected LGBTQ residents from discrimination in housing and public accomodations. The News & Observer additionally highlights that the local ordinance would have allowed transgender residents to use public bathrooms aligned with their gender identity.
North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, who signed H.B. 2 into law after the special session, told NBC News that he supports the law, saying, "Would you want a man to walk into your daughter’s shower and legally be able to do that because mentally they think they are of the other gender?"
McCrory is listed alongside Attorney General Roy Cooper and several University of North Carolina (UNC) officials (as well as the university itself) as defendents in the suit.
Plaintiffs include UNC Chapel Hill employee Joaquin Carcaño, UNC Greensboro student Peyton Grey McGarry, and North Carolina Central University School of Law professor and associate dean Angela Gilmore. Carcaño and McGarry identify as trans, while Gilmore identifies as a lesbian. Plaintiffs also include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina. The national ACLU and Lamda Legal join the other two groups in support of the suit.
A coalition led by trans and queer activists of color organized a protest in front of McCrory’s mansion last Thursday (March 24), with organizers citing the bill’s transphobic and racist underpinnings in a statement read at the rally:
This bill rolls back decades of hard-won progress, and will harm our whole state. It undermines municipal democratic control, advancements in anti-discrimination policy and further prohibits wage increases. This is a direct assault on working families and particularly working women of color who are most likely to be paid poverty wages. LGBTQ folks of color are workers, and we are worth more!
(H/t Buzzfeed, The News & Observer, NBC News, Socialist Worker)