RALEIGH —The North Carolina legislature today convened for a special session where it failed to pass a bill repealing H.B. 2, the state's sweeping anti-LGBT law.
Based on a promise from the General Assembly to fully repeal H.B. 2, the Charlotte City Council repealed their LGBT non-discrimination ordinances earlier this week. However, the Legislature failed to follow through on their promise, despite the deep and widespread opposition and outrage over the discriminatory nature of the law.
H.B. 2 bans transgender people from accessing restrooms and public facilities consistent with their gender identity and prevents local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. H.B. 2 is estimated to have cost North Carolina over $600 million in lost revenue from businesses concerned with the discriminatory nature of the law, and was a contributing factor in the election defeat of the outgoing Governor Pat McCrory.
"The General Assembly and Governor McCrory are playing political chicken, and North Carolinians continue to lose for it. It is an outrage that North Carolina's lawmakers could not follow the mandate of the voters and repeal H.B. 2," said Simone Bell, Southern Regional Director at Lambda Legal. As long as H.B. 2 is on the books, thousands of LGBT people who call North Carolina home, especially transgender people, are being discriminated against and will never feel safe. This was a counterproductive exercise in reaffirming to the rest of the country that North Carolina wants to remain mired in this divisive dispute.
"It is a shame that North Carolina's General Assembly is refusing to clean up the mess they made. The support for the LGBT community from political leaders, faith leaders, businesses, and everyday people that has emerged this year will not fade. These attempts to expel transgender people from public life will not be tolerated," said James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's LGBT & HIV Project. "The legislature may not be willing to undo their unconstitutional overreach and respect the rights of LGBT people, so we'll just have to see them in court."
The ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and the law firm of Jenner & Block are challenging H.B. 2 in federal court on behalf of four LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina.
With H.B. 2 in place, transgender North Carolinians are barred from using the restrooms they had used day in and day out without incident prior to the passage of the anti-trans measure in March. The repeal of H.B.2 would bring essential and immediate relief to transgender people across the state who had been put in the perilous position of being forced to avoid public restrooms or risk violation of state law.
"We will continue to fight in court for transgender people to access the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity and for equal protection for the entire LGBT community in North Carolina. State-sanctioned discrimination is unacceptable. LGBT North Carolinians and millions around the country are anxious to see an end to these dangerous displays of intolerance," said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina.
To read more about the case: www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/nc_carcano-v-mccrory .
From HRC and Equality North Carolina:
WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Equality North Carolina, and the National Center for Transgender Equality ( NCTE ) issued the following statements after the North Carolina General Assembly failed to repeal the state's deeply discriminatory HB2. Full repeal of HB2 was a central part of a deal negotiated by Governor-elect Roy Cooper that included the recent repeal of Charlotte's non-discrimination ordinance.
At the last minute, GOP leadership in the General Assembly blew up the deal when they sought to keep hateful, anti-LGBTQ provisions that would have maintained, potentially indefinitely, the prohibition on cities protecting their own residents. These very same inclusive protections exist in more than 100 cities, including Jackson, Miss., Louisville, Ky., Orlando, Fla., and Minneapolis, Minn., which passed them in 1975. HB2, which continues to remains in effect, was rammed through the legislature nine months ago, causing a significant national outcry, severe economic fallout, and the defeat of the state's Republican governor — the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on election day.
"Today, the public trust has been betrayed once again. Lawmakers sent a clear message: North Carolina remains closed for business," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "It's been 273 days since Republican state lawmakers passed the hateful HB2 law, and they have resisted fixing the mess they created every step of the way. Even after Charlotte responded to the GOP leadership's loathsome demand to repeal common sense protections that exist in more than 100 cities, Senator Berger and Speaker Moore failed to make good on the 'deal' they brokered with Governor-elect Cooper to fully repeal HB2. Their shameful actions and broken promises subject LGBTQ North Carolinians to state-mandated discrimination, contribute to a heightened environment of harassment and violence, and will continue the significant harm done to the state's reputation and economy. It's clear today that the GOP leadership's cruelty towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and particularly transgender North Carolinians knows no bounds. For our part, we will continue to fight to defeat all of HB2 and protect North Carolinians no matter what it takes."
"For 273 long days, HB2 has put LGBTQ North Carolinians at risk for discrimination and violence. Every single day, we have lost businesses, new residents, tourists, concerts, and sporting events," said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. "Today's failure to repeal HB2 is a blow to not just the LGBTQ community but to the entire state of North Carolina. With HB2 still on the books and the Charlotte Ordinance fully repealed we will only continue to lose businesses and put LGBTQ North Carolinians in harms way. The North Carolina General Assembly Leadership has made clear today that North Carolina remains closed for business."
"The North Carolina General Assembly is a national disgrace," said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. "In March, North Carolina lawmakers passed HB2. Last week, they made a shocking move to wrest power from Governor-elect Roy Cooper before he even took office. Today, they claimed they would repeal HB 2. As we have come to expect from these dishonest and underhanded extremist lawmakers, however, were not planning on repealing it in full. The repeal bill included a portion that bans cities in North Carolina from passing their own nondiscrimination laws for, at least, six months.This is unacceptable. The legislature's actions today have proven that the people of North Carolinaparticularly transgender North Carolinianscannot have any faith in their shameless lawmakers. We continue to stand with the people of North Carolina, particularly the transgender people who have been harmed by HB2 and their own lawmakers' actions, and we will continue to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with them until this shameful legislation is repealed in its entirety."
Following passage in March of this year, HB2 triggered a national outcry of opposition, and a broad range of voices spoke out over the last 9 months demanding its full and complete repeal. The economic fallout — including more than $600 million in lost business — grew as companies concerned with protecting their consumers and employees moved conventions, trainings, operations, productions, and other events out of state. In November, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory became the only incumbent governor from either party to lose re-election this year after he championed and signed into law HB2.
North Carolina polling released by HRC and Equality NC found that HB2 was the number one issue leading to Governor Pat McCrory's defeat — the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on election day. The HRC and Equality NC survey of 500 North Carolina voters found that 62 percent of voters opposed HB2, while only 30 percent supported the law. HB2 was also listed as the leading reason to vote against McCrory — with 57 percent citing the bill, 17 points above any other issue.
WASHINGTON, DCPFLAG Nationalthe nation's largest organization uniting families, allies, and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer ( LGBTQ )today called out the North Carolina state legislature for their inability to deliver full fairness and justice to all who live in their state by failing to repeal the discriminatory HB2.
"Outrageous, unconscionable, and unacceptable," said PFLAG National Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Kohm. "We have waited months for fairness and dignity to prevail. Now, instead of doing what's right, North Carolina's legislators will retire to the comfort of their homes and families for the holidays, leaving our families living or visiting there still vulnerable and still unprotected."
The sentiment was echoed by Linda Stroupe, PFLAG National board member and North Carolina resident and chapter leader. "The Charlotte city council voted in good faith to repeal the local ordinance only to pave the way for a full repeal of HB2. Clearly, the North Carolina state legislature had no plan to do so, and had no good faith to offer. We thank those in the legislature who spoke out today for a full repeal, and hope they will continue working together with our 16 PFLAG chapters and all concerned North Carolinians."
Said Kohm, "I challenge every legislator who did not support the full repeal of HB2 to meet the families you are harming. Hear your PFLAG constituents' stories, and then look them in the eye and explain your vote."
"A total repeal of HB2 is the only thing that will deliver full fairness, protection, and dignity to all who live in or visit my beautiful home state," said Stroupe. "Time will not change PFLAG's resolve."
PFLAG has 16 chapters in North Carolina, and over 400 chapters across the United States including Puerto Rico. To learn more about PFLAG National's advocacy work, visit pflag.org/wherewestand .