TurnOUT! North Carolina Launches Town Hall Series Focused on Repeal of Anti-LGBT H.B. 2

by Ianthe Metzger

Led by HRC and Equality NC, the TurnOUT! North Carolina Project is dedicated to repealing the discriminatory law

Charlotte, N.C. – Today, TurnOUT! North Carolina announced a series of town hall meetings across the Tar Heel State, focused on engaging and mobilizing pro-equality North Carolinians against House Bill 2 (H.B. 2) in the upcoming legislative session. A joint effort of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and Equality NC, the state organization working to secure equal rights and justice for LGBT North Carolinians, TurnOUT! NC has been working to repeal the discriminatory legislation since it was signed by Governor McCrory on March 23. The North Carolina General Assembly returns for its 2016 short session on April 25.

The first town hall will take place tomorrow, Thursday, April 14th at Le Meridien in Charlotte from 7 to 9pm. Speakers will include Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Charlotte City Councilmember Al Austin, HRC President Chad Griffin, Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro, and other local LGBT community members.

“Over the last several weeks, state legislative leaders have heard from a growing chorus of North Carolinians, civil rights advocates, business executives and faith leaders that H.B. 2 is dangerous to people and business across the state,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “In Charlotte this Thursday and in cities across the state over the next two weeks, we must continue to stand up, speak out, and ensure the state legislature approaches the coming short session with an understanding of how urgently this discriminatory bill must be repealed.”

“While H.B. 2 was hatched to divide our state and distract from the real issues we face during this pivotal election year, the result has been the opposite: H.B. 2 has galvanized our allies, business voices, and faith communities to stand together against this and other anti-LGBT laws,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “We’re proud to lead this campaign against this craven attack on LGBT people, and further inspire even more fair-minded North Carolinians to turn up and turn out against this measure in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

H.B. 2 has eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people 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 in federal funding under Title IX at risk. It also compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people in publicly-owned buildings, including public universities, major airports, and convention centers. Lawmakers passed the legislation in a hurried, single-day session, and Governor McCrory quickly signed it into law in the dead of night.

North Carolina has the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first state in the country to enact a law attacking transgender students, even after similar proposals were rejected across the country this year -- including a high-profile veto by the Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota. North Carolina school districts that comply with the law will now be in direct violation of Title IX, subjecting the school districts to massive liability and putting at risk an estimated $4.5 billion of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as funding received by schools from other federal agencies. This section of H.B. 2 offers costly supposed “solutions” to non-existent problems, and forces schools to choose between complying with federal law -- and doing the right thing for their students -- or complying with a state law that violates students’ civil rights. Read more about how this bill puts federal funding at risk here.

As a result of North Carolina’s H.B. 2 law, which puts thousands of youth, citizens, employees, and visitors to the state at risk, more than 130 business leaders are calling for a repeal effort during the upcoming legislative session and a number of businesses have begun to remove investments from the state.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT 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

TurnOUT! North Carolina is a joint project of HRC and Equality NC working to mobilize fair-minded North Carolinians to take action to repeal HB2 and hold the sponsors and supporters of this discriminatory law accountable. For more information go to http://equalitync.org/turnoutnc/


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