The NAACP, HRC, Equality North Carolina, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and other equality groups are intensifying their call for North Carolina lawmakers to reject an unconstitutional backroom “deal” on HB2 that would no doubt subject the state to years of costly litigation in a shameful effort to continue to enshrine anti-LGBTQ discrimination into state law.
The so-called “deal’ that North Carolina lawmakers are attempting to ram through today would effectively ban LGBTQ non-discrimination protections statewide through 2020 and permanently bar cities from passing laws that ensure transgender people can access facilities in accordance with their identity. Tellingly, last night former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the discriminatory HB2 into law and lost his seat because of it last fall, endorsed the proposal, as has the designated anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council.
The new legislation’s attempt to further prohibit municipalities from passing other employment provisions, including LGBTQ non-discrimination protections, as well as the provision restricting protections for transgender people in restrooms and other facilities is motivated by the same animus that resulted in a Colorado law being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in Romer v. Evans (1996). That decision barred states from forbidding the adoption of non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people under the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause.
Joining the NAACP, HRC, Equality North Carolina, the National Center for Transgender Equality in opposing this egregious proposal are major national groups including the ACLU, the American Federation of Teachers, and The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; corporations including Salesforce, Dow and Levi’s; and celebrities like Ellen Page, Tegan and Sara, Montel Williams, Martina Navratilova and Raymond Braun.
For more than a year, Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore have blocked an up-or-down vote on clean repeal of HB2, despite the overwhelming outcry from voters, businesses, and others seeking to do business in the state.
“HB2 must be repealed in full,” said Dr. William Barber, North Carolina NAACP President. “This bill is anti-worker, anti-access to the courts, and anti-LGBTQ. It is shameful for Tim Moore and Phil Berger to demand a discriminatory compromise on a bill that should have never been passed in the first place. Above all, any moratorium on civil rights is not a compromise, it is a contradiction with the principle of equal protection under the law and our moral values.”
“Any lawmaker who supports this bill cannot call themselves an ally of the LGBTQ community. They will be abandoning the LGBTQ community,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The so-called “deal” proposed by Senate President Berger, Speaker Moore and Governor Cooper last night is no deal at all — and, in fact, is very likely unconstitutional. It does not repeal HB2. It is simply a new version of HB2 that abandons LGBTQ people, targets the transgender community, and leaves thousands of North Carolinians vulnerable to discrimination at work, at home, and in their communities.”
“The worst thing about this replacement bill, beyond the tepid attempt to repeal HB 2, is that it seeks to enshrine into law a supposed threat presented by trans people,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality. “Gov. Cooper’s support of this fake repeal is an outrageous betrayal, since he ran on fully repealing HB 2 and protecting transgender North Carolinians.”
“This backroom deal would continue to actively discriminate against the transgender community – by keeping North Carolina the only state in the nation that makes it their business to interfere with where good, hard working trans people use the restroom,” said Chris Sgro, Equality NC Executive Director. “It wouldn’t actually repeal HB2. It kicks HB2 down the road through 2020 – keeping most of the awful law on the books for someone else to deal with. If Governor Cooper and legislators agree to this – they would be prohibiting protections in key areas for LGBT people for four years. That’s not a solution – it’s more of how we got here in the first place”
This backroom proposal was pushed in desperation as lawmakers faced today’s deadline to repeal HB2 or risk losing out on bids for NCAA championship games through 2022 — a decision that will further compound the economic harm HB2 continues to inflict on the state. Just this week, the Associated Press published an exclusive analysis showing the deeply discriminatory HB2 will cost the state more than $3.76 BILLION in lost business over a dozen years — and even that likely underestimates the damage.