Although the notorious House Bill 2 (HB2) is repealed, legal discrimination against LGBTQ North Carolinians continues. Under the “compromise” legislation, House Bill 142, 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 breakdown of HB2 and HB 142 news.
The Alliance of Baptists held a protest against HB 142 and in support of other issues from April 28-30. On HB 142, the progressive religious organization was indignant. “It is nothing more than a bait and switch,” Myers Park Baptist Pastor Benjamin Boswell said at the opening ceremony. “It was a financial deal, made solely for economic reasons at the expense of human rights, that legitimizes the deprivation of transgender rights under the banner of bipartisanship.”
The ACLU, Lambda Legal and the law firm of Jenner & Block argued in a North Carolina federal court that HB 142 perpetuated the harms of HB 2. “By targeting all [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people for disfavored treatment and singling out transgender individuals for additional discrimination, [House Bill 142] violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and due process under the U.S. Constitution,” the group said.
Four LGBTQ plaintiffs filed a status update report on the former lawsuit Carcaño v. McCrory, stating that they intend to continue the lawsuit, this time focusing on HB 142 and Gov. Roy Cooper. “Although HB142 purports to ‘repeal’ HB2, in actuality HB142 perpetuates many of HB2’s harms, as well as HB2’s stigmatization of transgender individuals and those who are lesbian, gay and bisexual,” the status update report read. “By targeting all LGBT people for disfavored treatment and singling out transgender individuals for additional discrimination, HB142 violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and due process under the U.S. Constitution.” The plaintiffs are members of the ACLU of North Carolina.
Spokesman for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reaffirmed that the state’s ban on non-essential state-funded travel to North Carolina would remain in effect. The ban began in March 2016 after the passage of HB 2 and will continue under HB 142. One consequence of New York’s ban was that the University of Albany’s men’s basketball team could not travel to compete against Duke last season. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) supported the move, with a statement by Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhoff saying, “We are grateful for Governor Cuomo’s leadership in reaffirming the state’s travel ban that makes clear just how devastating this anti-LGBTQ legislation in North Carolina truly is.”
The Human Rights Campaign announced that they would return $25,000 and reject another $300,000 in donations from Bank of America. The bank, as well as insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, were demoted on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, with the organization citing the companies’ roles in passing HB 142. “Bank of America and BCBS NC actively participated in brokering a law that will extend discrimination against countless LGBTQ people across the state of North Carolina — with particularly significant and permanent harm to transgender people,” said Deena Fidas, director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Program in a statement.
USA Today published a feature on Chris Mosier, a transgender athlete who recently competed in the Long Course Duathlon National Championships last month in Cary, N.C. Mosier won a spot on the U.S. men’s national team for the second year in a row, and will compete in Zofingen, Switzerland. Mosier said that competing in North Carolina “was a protest” against HB 142. “I think visibility is a powerful tool for social change,” Mosier told USA Today. “While (HB142) was supposed to be a repeal, it is a repacking of the same discriminatory policies. It still doesn’t protect LBGTQ people.” Mosier is active with the LGBTQ-supporting sports organization You Can Play, and helped organize a letter to the NCAA signed by 166 student-athletes protesting the sports league’s support of HB 142.
Credit Suisse, a Zurich-based bank that stalled job expansion in North Carolina due to HB 2, announced that it will re-initiate plans to add 1,200 jobs to the bank’s technology center in Raleigh, N.C. Credit Suisse is expected to reduce its overall employee count by up to 650 this year, but is still expanding its Raleigh office. Credit Suisse Vice Chairman Wilson Ervin said at a news conference: “While we realize that the recent repeal of HB2 contains some compromises, it is an important first step that re-establishes the minimum conditions for us to expand in the state.”