North Carolina Passes Measure That Restricts LGBT Rights
Mar 24 2016
North Carolina lawmakers gave final legislative approval on Wednesday to a measure that would block local governments in the state from enacting ordinances to allow transgender people to use public bathrooms that match their gender identities.
By signing the legislation immediately, McCrory is likely hoping to remove any questions, and thus any spotlight from his state. They're responding to worries from constituents and conservative activists about provisions related to transgender people and restrooms. Gov. Pat McCrory was expected to sign it before the end of the night. Buck Newton, a Republican who sponsored the bill in the Senate. Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue of Raleigh called the session "an affront to democracy" and said his caucus wouldn't be part of "this hostile takeover of human rights".
During debates on Wednesday, several people mentioned that the non-discrimination language doesn't include sexual orientation or disability, which they say presents a big problem. According to the Observer, opponents of the law said it was "social engineering" and that it needed to be struck down for the safety of women and children. There have been arguments that any man - perhaps a sex offender - could enter a woman's restroom or locker room by calling himself transgender.
"It's common sense - biological men should not me be in women's showers, locker rooms and bathrooms", said GOP Rep. Dean Arp of Monroe before the chamber voted 82-26 for the legislation after almost three hours of debate.
While provisions related to local anti-discrimination ordinances got the most attention, parents, transgender students, and community leaders spoke about limits on school facilities use during committee meetings on the bill. The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force reported that in a survey of transgender people living in North Carolina, half of respondents had been harassed or discriminated against in public places like hotels, restrooms, restaurants and other public services.
The law prohibits governments in the state from writing their own anti-discrimination laws. A new statewide nondiscrimination law included doesn't contain those specific protections.
The bill was mostly a rebuke to the city of Charlotte, after passing a bill that would allow transgender people to use the bathroom or locker room of the sex they identify with, instead of their biological sex.
Sixteen-year-old Chloe Jefferson of Greenville said Wednesday if Charlotte's model was copied by other North Carolina cities, she wouldn't feel safe using public bathrooms. A Thursday evening rally was planned.
The legislation was initially designed to create single-sex bathrooms in Charlotte in opposition to an ordinance passed by the Queen City's city council. Otherwise, the legislature wouldn't have returned until late April.
Current Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who pressed since taking office to get the anti-discrimination ordinance approved, said she was appalled by the legislature's actions.
The General Assembly is on the wrong side of progress...it is on the wrong side of history.
The only transgender people who would be exempt would be for someone who has had the sex on their birth certificate legally changed.
"North Carolina Republicans want to pass what would potentially be the single most discriminatory act in the country".
This legislation imposes new restrictions on schools and universities that puts public education at risk of violating federal law and jeopardizing federal funding. In an attempt to rush the bill through, the House Committee limited speakers to two minutes and legislators only had five-minutes to review the bill.