Today, HRC, Equality North Carolina, and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), strongly condemned North Carolina’s shameful new legislation that lawmakers and Governor Cooper touted as a “repeal” of their discriminatory HB2 law.
The so-called “deal” was disgracefully rammed through the legislature today following secret backroom negotiations on Wednesday. News of the fake repeal was met with a huge national outcry from major civil rights organizations including the HRC, Equality North Carolina, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Voto Latino, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; corporations including IBM, Salesforce, Dow and Levi’s; and celebrities like Ellen Page, Jane Fonda, Janet Mock, Tegan and Sara, Montel Williams, Rob Reiner, Jason Collins, Martina Navratilova and Raymond Braun have all called out this rotten deal.
“After more than a year of inaction, today North Carolina lawmakers doubled-down on discrimination,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This new law does not repeal HB2. Instead, it institutes a statewide prohibition on equality by banning non-discrimination protections across North Carolina and fuels the flames of anti-transgender hate. Each and every lawmaker who supported this bill has betrayed the LGBTQ community. HRC will explore every legal action to combat this dangerous legislation, and we urge all businesses, sports leagues and entertainers who have fought against HB2 to continue standing strong with the LGBTQ community attacked by this hateful law.”
“HB2 was hastily passed without any input from the LGBTQ community just one year ago,” said Chris Sgro Equality NC Executive Director. “Today, we returned to the legislature with a deal made between Governor Cooper, Phil Berger and Tim Moore that once again left out the ones most impacted by the discriminatory law – LGBTQ North Carolinians. Lawmakers and Governor Cooper have failed to resolve the problems with HB2 by doubling down on discrimination. Once again, the North Carolina General Assembly has enshrined discrimination into North Carolina law.”
“This bill and those like it are based on the vicious lie that trans people represent some type of danger to others,” said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. “When, in fact, there are thousands of school children who have been terrorized by HB 2, and thousands of parents constantly worried about the safety of their children. The best thing North Carolina can do is to simply repeal HB 2 outright, not this outrageously veiled attack on anti-discrimination.”
The legislation passed 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.
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.
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.