Equality Advocates Condemn North Carolina Legislative Sneak Attack Doubling Down on HB2

by Stephen Peters

RALEIGH -- Today, Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality NC, and Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), responded to media reports that a small group of extreme lawmakers in North Carolina are preparing to double down on the discriminatory HB2 law in another legislative sneak attack hashed out in a backroom deal. The reported proposal, which anti-LGBT lawmakers intend to introduce as early as this coming week is most notable for what it will not fix: lawmakers who oppose HB2 say it would continue some of the most vile aspects of the law, including the provision that has made it illegal for transgender people to access certain restrooms and other facilities, as well as a section that blocks localities from passing non-discrimination protections for their own residents and visitors.

Earlier this week, hearing that a backroom deal was in the works, Griffin, Sgro and Keisling sent a letter urging the more than 200 major business leaders opposed to HB2to stand firm in protecting their employees and customers until HB2 is fully repealed and replaced with statewide non-discrimination protections.

“The last time these lawmakers got together behind closed doors, we ended up with this vile HB2 law that has threatened millions of people across the state of North Carolina,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “We’ve seen this show before and we know how it ends. If these reports are true, the actions of these legislators are about to make the mess they’ve created even worse. By doubling down on this mistake, they will continue to harm residents and visitors as well as alienate businesses who want to see HB2 repealed and replaced with statewide non-discrimination protections.”  

“We are shocked that at a time when our lawmakers should be fighting for statewide protections for all people, they are instead attempting to get away with compounding their discriminatory mistake,” said Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality NC. “This latest effort to perpetuate the harm that HB2 is wreaking on all North Carolinians is legislative malpractice, pure and simple.”

“This latest blatant attempt to enshrine discrimination into law adds insult to injury, continuing to place transgender people -- some of the state’s most vulnerable residents -- at increasing risk of harassment and even violence, and shamefully preventing cities from passing local protections for LGBTQ residents and visitors,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It’s simply outrageous that these extreme lawmakers believe that transgender women like me should be forced to use the men’s restroom, and transgender men use the women’s room. They haven’t learned -- when you’ve dug yourself into a hole, stop digging.”

Momentum for repeal of HB2 has continued to grow since HB2 was rammed through the legislature and signed in under 12 hours. HB2 has cost the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area $285 million alone. 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. The European Union has criticized HB2 and United Kingdom’s Foreign Office has even warned its LGBT citizens of the risks of traveling to North Carolina.

HB 2 has eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. In addition, the legislation prevents transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. It also compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, major airports, and convention centers. Further, HB 2 revokes the ability to sue under state employment non-discrimination law on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, religion, national origin, and sex.  

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.

Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians. For more information, please visit www.equalitync.org

The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people.


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