Today, Equality Federation and many other organizations, are denouncing North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory for signing into law the most extreme, anti-LGBTQ legislation in the country. House Bill 2 repeals Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance, prevents other towns from passing their own nondiscrimination ordinances, prevents transgender people from being able to use the restroom that matches the gender they live every day, and even prevents cities from adopting living wage ordinances.
Legal groups say the law likely violates Title XII of the Civil Rights Act and could face costly legal challenges. Businesses across the state, including DOW Chemicals, have spoken out in opposition but were ignored by the Governor. During its passage, all of the Senate Democrats walked out in protest.
Ian Palmquist, Equality Federation’s Director of Leadership Programs and a North Carolina resident, said “If the governor had met personally with gay and transgender North Carolinians he would have seen people who go to work, go out to eat, and live their daily lives in our communities just like everyone else. He would have seen people who should have a fair opportunity to provide for themselves and their families in our great state. I stand with the majority of North Carolinians when I say that this discriminatory law does not speak for us. We believe in fairness, freedom, and the ability of our cities and towns to govern themselves. In addition to putting our gay and transgender friends and family at risk of serious discrimination, the bill violates federal law, is terrible for business, and is an embarrassment for our state.”
Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Federation member Equality North Carolina said, “Pat McCrory tonight proved that he does not have the best interest of North Carolina in mind. He signed the worst anti-LGBT bill in the entire nation. The bill tears away at the fabric of my community by overturning and preempting vital protections for gay and transgender people. He goes back on his word again by signing legislation coming out of an expensive and unnecessary special session. Red Hat, Biogen, Dow Chemical, and others have spoken in opposition and that’s only the beginning of the impact on the business community here. Unfortunately, this likely means the state will have to spend more money on a lawsuit because of misguided or illegal legislation. It’s an embarrassment for the Old North State.”
But for one of the most extreme legislatures in the country, dragging one city backwards wasn’t enough. Instead of destroying just one progressive ordinance in one city, the legislation they passed in today’s special session blocks all LGBT non-discrimination ordinances passed by any local government across the entire state, and protects businesses that discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But they didn’t stop there. State lawmakers took the opportunity to overreach even more by forbidding North Carolina cities from raising the minimum wage with living wage ordinances.
“This is sadly unsurprising from a party that seems determined to stay stuck in the Stone Age on LGBT equality. From their refusal to accept marriage equality as the law of the land, to their disingenuous ‘free speech’ and ‘religious freedom’ justifications for discrimination, Republicans are hurting Americans who deserve the full and equal protection of the law. Now the same state lawmakers who pretend to love limited government are steamrolling over local officials just because they had the courage to stand up for transgender rights. Our friends in the LGBT community deserve better and so do all the people of North Carolina,” said DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“While Republicans in DC refuse to do their job in confirming a Supreme Court justice, Republicans in North Carolina are calling a special session to repeal every local non-discrimination law protecting the LGBT community across the entire state. They’d rather spend the taxpayer’s money to take away the rights of North Carolina’s citizens than deal with the massive cuts to education they have also forced on families,” said Earl Fowlkes, chair of the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic National Committee.
“What we’re seeing here is a more extreme version of the radical ‘Right to Discriminate’ laws that have failed in other states like Indiana. Rather than requiring a ‘religious objection’ to discriminate, which is already bad enough, this wholesale repeal of all municipal non-discrimination laws in the entire state is a new low. This proposed bill gives businesses, like hotels and restaurants, a license to discriminate against gay and transgender people with total impunity. And that is simply wrong,” said Ryan Butler, chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party’s LGBT Caucus.
Equality Federation has provided support with spokesperson training and connecting North Carolinians to their lawmakers. We will continue to work with Equality North Carolina, ACLU, HRC, Freedom for All Americans, and others to educate lawmakers and the public about the real lives of LGBT North Carolinians, and the importance of nondiscrimination protections for the safety and wellbeing of their families.
The full text of the legislation can be found here: http://goo.gl/kEwWgJ.
Read how the North Carolina editorials that have already slammed the Republicans on their “recklessness and foolishness” in rolling back LGBT nondiscrimination protections.
To check out other states, click here.
[From Excerpts of Various News Releases]
People and organizations reacted to the discriminatory ruling from North Carolina via Twitter.
— Equality NC (@equalitync) March 24, 2016
— Freedom for All Americans (@freedom4allusa) March 23, 2016
— ACLU (@ACLU) March 23, 2016
North Carolina's GOP Just Fast-Tracked the Broadest Anti-LGBT Bill in the Country https://t.co/7CQEC0Iyuc
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) March 24, 2016
We stand in solidarity with the people of North Carolina. It may feel like we lost tonight but we will win.We can't let the GOP divide us up
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) March 24, 2016
— Daniel Beerthuis ✌🌎 🏳️🌈 (@DanielBeerthuis) March 24, 2016
— The HomoPolitico (@HomoPolitico) March 24, 2016