North Carolina isn’t ready to fully embrace the love-wins concept.
On Wednesday, a bill was signed into law by Governor Pat McCroy, which allows discrimination against LBGT and bans transgender people from certain restrooms. It halts an ordinance in Charlotte that protects LGBT people from discrimination in housing and public accommodations, which was scheduled to take effect April 1.
“The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte,” Gov. McCroy wrote in a statement following the signing of House Bill 2.
After lawmakers in the House voted 83-25 to pass the bill, the senate approved it with a unanimous vote of 32-0 only after every Democratic senator walked out.
Still, some Democrats remained in the House as McCroy boasted the bill was “passed by a bipartisan majority.” But Democratic lawmakers weren’t even given a chance to read the bill Wednesday morning before its first committee vote, with Rep. Bobby Richardson telling fellow members of the House Judiciary IV Committee, “I’m not really sure what is in this bill.”
The governor then signed it into law as he and Christian conservatives felt the public accommodations portion of the Charlotte ordinance posed a safety threat by allowing transgender women, or “men” as McCroy and others referred to them, to prey on women and girls.
“This radical breach of trust and security under the false argument of equal access not only impacts the citizens of Charlotte, but people who come to Charlotte to work, visit or play,” McCroy added. “This new government regulation defies common sense and basic community norms by allowing, for example, a man to use a woman’s bathroom, shower or locker room.”
But that’s not all. House Bill 2 also mandates that state law supersedes all local ordinances concerning wages, employment, and public accommodations as well as restricting single-sex restrooms and locker rooms in public facilities to people of the same sex as stated on their birth certificate.
Despite the federal government ruling that civil rights laws ban transgender discrimination in schools, House Bill 2 also bans transgender students from school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity, which advocacy groups warn could cause North Carolina to “lose billions in federal funds.”
While the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal explore a legal challenge to the law, the state’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, who is running for governor, is against it.
“That North Carolina is making discrimination part of the law is shameful,” he said. “It will not only cause real harm to families, but to our economy as well.”
(Photo: Leonardo Patrizi / Getty Images)