According to International Business Times, North Carolina lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to prevent cities and counties from passing laws to protect the LGBT community against discrimination. The bill was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory.
The city council in Charlotte, North Carolina, approved an anti-discrimination law that would allow transgender individuals to use the restroom that reflects their gender identity.
Effective April 1, House Bill 2 is an anti-discrimination measure that does not apply to gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual individuals. The law bans employers and businesses from discrimination against their employees or patrons based on race, country of origin, religion, age, or biological sex. The measure includes an addendum that requires individuals to use the restroom that matches their gender at birth.
McCrory released a statement saying, “The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte,” he said in the statement. “This radical breach of trust and security under the false argument of equal access not only impacts the citizens of Charlotte but people who come to Charlotte to work, visit, or play.”
The Associated Press reported the bill was passed by 83-25 in the House of Representatives and 32-0 in the Senate.
“This bill essentially repeals 50 years of non-discrimination efforts and gives lawmakers in Raleigh [the state capital] unprecedented control over our city and local governments,” Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue said in a statement. “North Carolina Republicans want to pass what would potentially be the single most discriminatory act in the country. This is a direct affront to equality, civil rights, and local autonomy.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD (an LGBT advocacy group), called the new law “hateful.”
A similar bill in Tennessee, sponsored by Republican representative Susan Lynn and Senator Mike Bell was thought to be dead after the House education committee sent it summer study earlier this week. In the Tennessee subcommittee transgender students testified during the hearing.
Brendon Holloway, a transgender man, says the bill is discriminatory and dangerous. “They don’t realize because of their actions, especially because of the anti-transgender bathroom bill today, that they could cause the suicide rate for transgender teens to go up in the state of Tennessee. I’ve come to terms with I am who I am. And no matter what lawmakers try to pass I’m going to be me.”
Rep Susan Lynn contends that the law is not harmful in making transgender individuals use facilities assigned to their birth gender.
“This bill truly does protect the rights of all students, all students,” she said told the Nashville Scene.
By law, in Tennessee, you cannot change the gender on your birth certificate even if you have undergone gender-affirming surgery. The anti-discrimination act would force those individuals to use public facilities such as locker rooms and restroom in accordance to a gender they no longer ascribe to.
The bill has not been enacted into law, but it’s not dead in the water.
Supporters of the bill call it a “common sense” approach to protecting transgender students from bullying and harassment by providing unique accommodations.
Senate Republicans insist that they must take into consideration the rights of all students, not just transgendered individuals.
South Dakota would have been the first state to pass a bill outlawing transgender public school students from using restrooms and lockers rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. The bill was vetoed by Governor Dennis Daugaard in March, 2016. Daugaard believed that the decision should be left to the local schools to decide and address those issues as they arise.
[Photo by Toby Talbot/AP Images]