Human Rights Campaign Applauds Gov. Cooper for Vetoing Three Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills, Urges NC Legislators Not to Override

by HRC Staff

If overridden, these would be 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 — commended North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper for vetoing three anti-LGBTQ+ bills:

  • SB49, which would have targeted LGBTQ+ youth and prevented teachers from creating safe, inclusive classrooms.

  • HB808, which would have banned initiation of gender-affirming care for people under 18.

  • HB574, which would have prohibited 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 advanced through the North Carolina General Assembly following a hiatus resulting from their deeply discriminatory anti-transgender bathroom legislation in 2016 and 2017.

Human Rights Campaign Legislative Counsel Courtnay Avant released the following statement:

“Right now, we’re seeing extremist leaders across the country and in North Carolina advance a slate of hateful, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation for their own political gain. They’re not trying to protect children in schools or create fairness in sports, they’re systematically attempting to force LGBTQ+ people back into the closet. The Human Rights Campaign applauds Governor Cooper for standing up for equality, even when it would be easier to stand back and do nothing.”

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

So far in 2023, HRC is opposing almost 560 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. A total of 80 pieces of legislation have been enacted into law this year. A total of 229 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:

  • A total 131 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, 17 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, Florida, Nebraska, and Missouri

  • More than 30 anti-transgender bathroom bills filed;

  • A total of 100 anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum censorship bills, and;

  • 44 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.

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.

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