Although the notorious House Bill 2 (HB2) is repealed, legal discrimination against LGBTQ North Carolinians continues. Under the House Bill 142 (HB142) “compromise” legislation, signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on March 30, much of HB2 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 summary of HB2 and HB 142 news.
The NCAA awarded North Carolina as the site of a number of coveted tournaments from 2018-2021. The events to take place in the state include men’s basketball tournament opening-weekend games in Greensboro, N.C. in 2020 and Raleigh, N.C. in 2021 and a women’s basketball tournament regional in Greensboro in 2019. In addition, the College Cup Division I championship rounds for men’s soccer and women’s soccer will alternate years in Cary, N.C. from 2018-21 and the Division I women’s field hockey championship will be held in Winston-Salem, N.C. in 2019.
LGBTQ advocates condemned the NCAA’s decision. Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof said in a statement: “The NCAA has fallen ‘hook, line, and sinker’ for this ‘bait and switch’ sham ‘deal’ doubling down on discrimination … the NCAA has undermined its credibility and is sending a dangerous message to lawmakers across the country who are targeting LGBTQ people with discriminatory state legislation. In addition to protecting the broader LGBTQ community, the NCAA needs to clearly state how they will be protecting their student athletes, personnel and fans.”
The ACLU of North Carolina also condemned the NCAA’s decision, noting that the ACLU’s public records requests — seeking reassurance of an LGBTQ-inclusive environment — have gone unanswered by any of the institutions chosen to host championships. “We have yet to see any evidence showing how the NCAA can ensure basic nondiscrimination protections for these events,” said Sarah Gillooly, policy director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “And that’s because a nondiscriminatory environment can’t exist in a state where official policy singles out transgender people and perpetuates the notion that they should not participate fully in public life.”
Trilliant Networks CEO Andrew White told The Associated Press that HB142 was an important but not decisive factor in his company’s planned move to Cary, N.C. Cost of living, university access and commuting distance were also influential, but HB2’s repeal “was a step in the right direction that convinced us that we felt comfortable enough,” White said. The move will create 130 jobs in the state.
ESPN spoke to a number of LGBTQ and ally student-athletes who expressed disappointment over the NCAA’s decision to award North Carolina with championship hosting locations. “Seeing [HB2] get passed — and the conversation that came from it — was really devastating, and that’s why it was meaningful to see the NCAA and the ACC take a stand against it,” said Liam Miranda, a transgender athlete from Duke University. “[The NCAA] aligned themselves with the LGBTQ community, especially student-athletes, and for them to reverse that decision after we get handed a law that is no better is really disappointing. It backpedals all the work they did.”
The transgender plaintiffs of Carcaño v. McCrory have withdrawn their request for the Court of Appeals to review their case against the state government. The plaintiffs cited HB142 as nullifying the restroom provision of HB2, claiming that it makes their appeal unnecessary. The ACLU and Lambda Legal will continue their legal battle against HB142, the HB2 replacement legislation.
“As a publicity stunt, was the repeal successful? Sure,” CEO Matthew Patsky of Trillium Asset Management, operating in three states and managing more than $2 billion, told NC Policy Watch. “But you haven’t seen many of the companies that said they were pulling out or not expanding in North Carolina saying that they’re now coming back. You haven’t seen some of the musicians and entertainment acts say that they think this is enough … I can tell you that for our clients and for many business leaders, the repeal that was done wasn’t enough.”
The 30th annual gathering of the Alliance of Baptists took place at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh. The famed Rev. Dr. William Barber spoke, as did Rev. Dr. Nancy Petty, Rev. Ben Boswell, Rev. Maria Swearingen, Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood and Rev. Dr. Mike Castle. The purpose of the protest press conference was “to denounce that while HB-2 may have been repealed to appease moneyed interests, it does nothing to address the discrimination and harm directed at LGBTQIA people,” according to the Alliance’s press release. The organization also spoke out against policies of the current presidential administration, the death penalty, Black Lives Matter, and discrimination against immigrants and Muslims.