RALEIGH, N.C. — The hot topic this election year is the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), which has drawn criticism for its open discrimination against transgender North Carolinians. The law dictates that people must use the public restroom and facilities consistent with the gender on their birth certificate, as well as preventing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ citizens. The federal court case Carcaño v. McCrory continues to move forward despite its delayed May 2017 court date.
The plaintiffs in the case, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the law firm of Jenner & Block, recently filed a brief with the court. This move follows the federal judge’s September injunction to halt implementation of the law applied to the three specific plaintiffs in the case. But opponents of the legislation haven’t stopped there; the plaintiffs’ team now seeks a full injunction that protects all LGBTQ residents of North Carolina, not just the three plaintiffs.
“We hope and expect that the Fourth Circuit will expand this ruling to protect all transgender people,” said ACLU of North Carolina Legal Director Chris Brook. “Every day that H.B. 2 singles out transgender North Carolinians — whether at school, at work, or just moving through their daily lives — is another day that the transgender community is told that they are second class.”
The brief filed on Oct. 19 argues that the law specifically targets transgender people, and that this is a form of sex discrimination.
“H.B. 2 makes transgender North Carolinians pariahs in their own state,” said Lambda Legal National Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair Jon W. Davidson. “Such unequal treatment simply cannot be squared with the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of equality under the law.”
The defendant in the case, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, continues to defend his decision to sign the bill into law back in March. McCrory insists on the “common sense” nature of bathroom safety, and his legal team’s alignment of transgender people with sexual predators has drawn intense criticism.
Criticism of HB2 drew national attention once again after the Oct. 18 gubernatorial debate between McCrory (up for reelection) and opponent Roy Cooper. One question regarded Caitlyn Jenner, perhaps the most famous transgender person in the world, and which public facilities she would be required to use.
“She’s going to use the men’s shower,” McCrory said, referring to public facilities at UNC-Chapel Hill. The governor distinguished between public and private sector, the latter of which he does not regulate.
Jenner responded on Twitter, posting a goofy picture of the governor and writing “So I’m supposed to use the same shower as this guy?? Gross!”
Jenner wasn’t the only one responding to the debate. Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin and Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro (also an N.C. Representative), each had a few choice words for the governor.
“The choice has never been clearer for LGBT and all North Carolinians,” Sgro asserted. “Roy Cooper stands for equality, education, and common sense North Carolina values. Governor McCrory continues to play the blame game and double down on the discriminatory HB2.”
Griffin also recognized the governor’s transference of blame on HB2:
“Pat McCrory continued to blame others and avoid taking responsibility for a dangerously discriminatory law that he alone signed,” Griffin said.
With election day approaching and early voting already begun, Gov. McCrory faces the potential consequences of his actions. As Carcaño v. McCrory moves forward, McCrory’s time as governor may be running out.