Although the notorious House Bill 2 (HB2) is repealed, legal discrimination against LGBTQ North Carolinians continues. Under the “compromise” legislation, House Bill 142 (HB142), signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on March 30, much of HB2 still remains.
Though the statewide ban on transgender bathroom access was reversed, a four-year moratorium on local non-discrimination protections has LGBTQ advocates and allies up in arms. In addition, localities in the state are forbidden from enacting any regulations concerning access to multiple-occupancy restrooms, changing rooms, and other public facilities.
In the interest of keeping our readers informed, qnotes breaks down the avalanche of headlines and provides a brief but comprehensive breakdown of HB2 and HB142 news.
News publications nationwide denounced HB142. The Charlotte Observer, The Washington Post and The New York Times all ran editorials explaining that the new legislation was a false repeal and perpetuates discrimination. Slate, Mother Jones and Fortune criticized the new law as well. According to The Washington Post’s Steve Petrow: “You can’t compromise on civil rights. But North Carolina just did.”
Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina, sent an email blast explaining transgender people’s rights as they stand under HB142. They can access bathrooms, but are not protected from discrimination and won’t be for a long time. “This is not a true repeal of HB2,” Brooke wrote. “It doubles down on the dangerous lie that transgender people are a threat to safety and privacy.”
Equality California and other organizations and businesses called on the NCAA to continue its boycott of North Carolina. “HB142 continues to enshrine LGBT discrimination in North Carolina’s laws and is totally unacceptable,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “We are especially disappointed that Gov. Roy Cooper, who was elected on promises that he would work to overturn HB2, chose instead to sell out the LGBT community by signing this recodification of discrimination.”
Cities nationwide announced that they are continuing their bans on taxpayer-funded travel to North Carolina. Among the cities and states protesting in this manner: Chicago, Ill.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Cincinnati, Ohio; Santa Fe, N.M.; Portland, Maine; Portland, Ore.; Baltimore, Md.; Burlington, Vt., Palm Springs, Calif.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; San Francisco, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Washington D.C.; Oakland, Calif.; New York City, N.Y.; and the states of California, Washington and Minnesota. “Every American deserves to live free of discrimination, and the law signed last week by Governor Cooper does nothing to protect the rights and dignity of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement. “I urge the City Council to extend L.A.’s ban on non-essential travel to the state by City employees. I would sign that ban right away, and will continue doing everything in my power to make sure that Angelenos’ tax dollars are never spent to support bigotry based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The NCAA released a statement explaining that the organization would lift the ban on North Carolina sites for sports championships: “this new law has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment. If we find that our expectations of a discrimination-free environment are not met, we will not hesitate to take necessary action at any time,” the statement reads. “The NCAA Board of Governors reluctantly voted to allow consideration of championship bids in North Carolina.”
National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendall released a statement saying that “the NCAA threw in the towel and backed down on its promise to take a stand for LGBTQ athletes and North Carolinians. The National Center for Lesbian Rights is deeply disappointed that the NCAA Board of Governors has chosen to stand down in the face of discrimination.”
“The NCAA’s decision to backtrack on their vow to protect LGBTQ players, employees and fans is deeply disappointing and puts people at risk,” Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “After drawing a line in the sand and calling for repeal of HB2, the NCAA simply let North Carolina lawmakers off the hook.”
N.C. Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange County) released a statement saying, “I voted No because the fix, HB142, prevents local governments from protecting the LGBTQ people in their community… What we need is a bill that adds LGBTQ people in the statewide law that lists the protected classes.”
The NBA announced that it would consider Charlotte, N.C. for future All-Star games.
Mother Jones published the testimony of Lara Americo, a transgender woman living in Charlotte who said she has never been more afraid to be from North Carolina. Americo has considered leaving the state, but “I would hate it if I gave in to fear tactics and discrimination,” she said. “There are many people here who don’t care that I’m transgender and they don’t care who uses the bathroom with them. It’s those people who make me want to stay here and be a part of this and fight for the transgender kids who live here and are going to public schools and worry about all these things, and make sure they don’t have to deal with this when they’re 30.”
Soulforce, an organization dedicated to protecting LGBTQ people in Christian universities, celebrated a successful campaign protesting three NCAA events with banners urging the inclusion and acceptance of transgender people.
The Trump Administration’s Justice Department filed a motion to dismiss the Obama Administration’s lawsuit against North Carolina over HB2, citing HB142.
“The Trump administration may want to use the fake repeal of HB2 as an excuse to further turn their backs on the transgender community, but the rest of us aren’t going to give up that easily,” Director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project, James Esseks, said in a statement. “We’ll continue this fight as long as it takes to truly strike down this disastrous law for good.”