As legislative session ends, HB2 revision leaves opponents unsatisfied

Future fight against legislation headed to federal court

In a rushed revision made on the last day of the legislative summer session, GOP lawmakers have tweaked House Bill 2 (HB2). The sun set on July 1 with very little difference actually made to the controversial legislation, and opponents of HB2 remain deeply unhappy with the situation.

The revision did accomplish one thing; HB2 formerly prohibited discrimination lawsuits from reaching state court, but that section of the bill has been reneged. Some sources claim that the loss of the right to sue was a mistake made in the hurried special session that birthed HB2. If that is to be believed, then legislators haven’t actually revised anything, they’ve simply clarified their original intent.

Opponents of HB2 are not pacified by the revisions pushed through before the legislative session ended. Corporations like the NBA — which threatened to relocate its Charlotte 2017 All-Star Game — have redoubled their objections to the anti-LGBT legislation.

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Openly gay Rep. Chris Sgro (D-Greensboro), also the executive director of Equality North Carolina, says he is “woefully embarrassed” by the revision of HB2.

“They continue to ignore the thousands of North Carolinians who have rallied, called, emailed, or signed petitions or postcards, the hundreds of business leaders who have spoken out, the numerous celebrities and performers who have canceled shows, and the sporting events that have issued statements, all with a singular demand — full repeal of HB2,” read an Equality NC email signed by Sgro.

Further adding insult to injury, news broke that Gov. Pat McCrory’s office requested and received a reallocation of the state budget. From North Carolina’s disaster relief funding, $500,000 has been moved to the governor’s office for the purpose of defending HB2 in federal court.

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It seems that there is no alternative left for opponents of HB2 except to pursue litigation. Early in May, the Obama administration clashed with N.C. legislators over HB2, resulting in opposing lawsuits. While Gov. McCrory’s administration is suing the federal government for “overreach,” the Justice Department returns with a lawsuit aimed at the discriminatory nature of HB2.

Contemplating the future of these court cases — decisions which will undoubtedly set a precedent for LGBT rights in the U.S. — always keep in mind Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s address to transgender Americans:

“We see you, we stand with you, and we will do everything we can to protect you.”

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