BREAKING: North Carolina Legislators Override Gov. Cooper’s Veto of Three Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills

by HRC Staff

These are the first anti-LGBTQ+ bills to pass in North Carolina since the deeply discriminatory anti-transgender HB2/HB142 era

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned the North Carolina legislature for overriding Governor Roy Cooper’s vetoes of three anti-LGBTQ+ bills:

  • SB49, which targets LGBTQ+ youth and prevent teachers from creating safe, inclusive classrooms;

  • HB808, which bans initiation of best practice, medically necessary health care for transgender adolescents simply because they’re transgender; and

  • HB574, which prohibits transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

In yet another sign of the historic level of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks sweeping state legislatures this year, these are the first anti-LGBTQ+ bills that passed the North Carolina General Assembly following a hiatus resulting from their deeply discriminatory anti-transgender bathroom legislation in 2016 and 2017.

Every lawmaker in North Carolina that voted to override the Governor’s veto should be ashamed of themselves. These bills range in impact from curriculum censorship to school sports to banning best practice healthcare, but they have one important throughline: extremist legislators are trying to gain political power by harming vulnerable young people and their families. Once again, the North Carolina General Assembly has prioritized anti-transgender discrimination over the well-being of North Carolina. Governor Cooper did the right thing by vetoing these hateful bills designed to rile up hate against LGBTQ+ people, but legislators are sending a clear message that North Carolina is not a safe place for us. We will not stop fighting these discriminatory measures.``

Cathryn Oakley, Senior Director for Legal Policy

THE FACTS: 2023 Becoming Worst Year On Record for Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation

So far in 2023, HRC is opposing over 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 75 pieces of discriminatory legislation have been enacted into law this year. More than 225 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date. This year, HRC is tracking:

  • More than 130 gender-affirming care bans — bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 19 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, Florida, Nebraska, Texas, and Missouri. Alabama passed a ban in 2022 and Arkansas did so in 2021. Several of these have been challenged in court and are stayed pending appeal.

  • More than 30 anti-transgender bathroom bills filed;

  • More than 100 anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum censorship bills, and;

  • More than 40 anti-LGBTQ+ drag performance ban bills.

Americans believe the amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is excessive, agreeing it is “political theater.” Likely voters across all political parties look at GOP efforts to flood state legislatures with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as political theater. Recent polling indicates that 64% of all likely voters, including 72% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans think that there is “too much legislation” aimed at “limiting the rights of transgender and gay people in America” (Data For Progress survey of 1,220 likely voters, 3/24-26, 2023).

By comparison, last year in 2022 politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, 29 of which were enacted into law. These efforts — the result of a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes seeking to slander, malign, and stigmatize LGBTQ+ people — only yielded a less than 10% success rate, as more than 90% of anti-LGBTQ+ bills were defeated. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children. By the end of the 2022 state legislative season, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children were enacted into law.

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