On March 23, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law HB2 - an outrageous and unprecedented anti-LGBTQ law that eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people and living wage ordinances and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. The legislation also forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity, putting 4.5 billion dollars in federal education funding alone at risk, and it compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, convention centers, and airports. Further, it gutted the existing ability of people who have been discriminated against - including on the basis of race, religion, and sex - to sue in state court, undermining critical discrimination protections for all.
Since Governor McCrory and state lawmakers rammed HB2 into law, the overwhelming outcry from fair-minded North Carolinians, business leaders, and LGBTQ equality advocates has continued to grow. More than 200 major CEOs and business leaders signed an open letter calling for full repeal of HB2 -- including many of North Carolina’s largest employers. Major film studios and corporations, from PayPal to Deutsche Bank, have stopped investments in the state because of the new law’s threat to employees and consumers. Artists including Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Dead & Company, and Cyndi Lauper have spoken out. Conventions have withdrawn from the state, taking substantial revenue with them, and the Charlotte Chamber said in May that HB2 has cost the Mecklenburg area alone $285 million and 1300 jobs.
On May 9, Gov. McCrory filed a lawsuit defending his deeply discriminatory HB2. However, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Gov. McCrory, N.C.'s Department of Public Safety, and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.
On July 1, the North Carolina General Assembly shamefully adjourned without repealing the deeply discriminatory HB2, choosing to ignore the overwhelming chorus of North Carolinians, business leaders, fair-minded voices, and civil rights advocates demanding the law be repealed before the end of the legislative session. Instead of fully repealing HB2, only one portion of the law was addressed. Lawmakers passed a measure that restores the ability to sue under state employment non-discrimination law on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, religion, national origin, and sex. However, they pointedly chose not to include sexual orientation or gender identity, thus leaving in place the discriminatory provision that has made it illegal for transgender people to access certain restrooms and other facilities, and the section that blocks localities from passing non-discrimination protections for their own residents and visitors.
On July 21, the NBA stood up to North Carolina lawmakers who refused to repeal HB2 by pulling its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.
Human Rights Campaign fights for LGBTQ equality in North Carolina alongside state and local groups and lawmakers. Find out more about what HRC is doing for LGBTQ equality in North Carolina and how you can get involved with the North Carolina local community.
The existing patchwork of legal protections for LGBTQ people in the United States leaves millions subject to uncertainty and potential discrimination. That’s why the Human Rights Campaign is working with lawmakers and advocates to pass the Equality Act in Congress, as well as strong non-discrimination protections at the state and local levels.