Lambda Legal and ACLU Statement on H.B. 2 Developments

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September 18, 2016
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The ACLU and Lambda Legal today called on Governor Pat McCrory and North Carolina legislative leaders to stop playing games and repeal H.B. 2, the state law that bans many transgender people from appropriate restrooms and prohibits local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people.

The two organizations issued the following statement in response to Gov. McCrory’s and legislative leaders’ demand that the City of Charlotte repeal its LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance as a precondition for the legislature considering the repeal of H.B. 2.

“North Carolina’s people and economy are suffering because the General Assembly and Governor McCrory passed a law that encourages discrimination against LGBT people and particularly targets and harms transgender people,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the ACLU of North Carolina. “It is absurd, dishonest and wrong to blame the damage caused by H.B. 2 on a Charlotte ordinance that protects LGBT people from discrimination and is similar to laws in 18 states and more than 200 municipalities. North Carolina’s leaders need to stop blaming others, take responsibility for the disaster that is H.B. 2 and repeal the entire discriminatory law without delay. We urge the Charlotte City Council to stand firm on its commitment to protecting the LGBT community from discrimination by leaving its ordinance intact.”

“The reason the NBA, NCAA and countless other groups and companies have refused to do business in North Carolina is because H.B. 2 is an unprecedented and targeted attack on the LGBT community that is inconsistent with American values – not because Charlotte commendably decided to protect LGBT people from discrimination,” said Simone Bell, the Southern Regional Director for Lambda Legal. “Nondiscrimination policies like Charlotte’s are good and necessary measures that protect the LGBT community. Repealing Charlotte’s ordinance would be a step backward for equality, inclusion and fairness. Governor McCrory and the General Assembly need to stop pointing fingers, do the right thing and repeal all of H.B. 2’s harmful provisions.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and the law firm of Jenner & Block are challenging H.B. 2 in federal court on behalf of six LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina.

In August, a federal district court blocked the University of North Carolina from enforcing the law against three transgender plaintiffs in the case and found that the challengers are likely to succeed in their argument that the law violates Title IX.

The groups are appealing that ruling in part to seek broader relief for all transgender people in North Carolina before the case heads to a full trial in May.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal lawsuit, Carcaño v. McCrory, was filed days after H.B. 2 was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by Governor Pat McCrory.

In the lawsuit, the groups argue that through the law, North Carolina sends a purposeful message that LGBT people are second-class citizens who are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded others in the state and that transgender individuals, in particular, are expelled from public life through H.B. 2’s mandate that they be forced out of restrooms and changing facilities that accord with who they are.

The complaint argues that H.B. 2 violates Title IX by discriminating against students and school employees on the basis of sex. It also argues the law is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating on the basis of sex and sexual orientation and violates the privacy and medical decision making rights of transgender people.

Read the press release.