@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

NC set to ban local discrimination protections

Posted March 22
Updated March 23

NC Flag, Legislative Building, Raleigh

— North Carolina lawmakers could vote Wednesday to ban local governments from extending anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, and transgender people.

A draft version of the bill circulating Tuesday night sets out a new statewide non-discrimination ordinance that covers only "race, religion, color, national origin, or sex." City and county governments would be banned from passing more stringent local ordinances that might add to those protections.

The draft legislation, dated March 19, would also prohibit cities and counties from raising the local minimum wage – sometimes called a "living wage" ordinance – or from passing any labor laws that are stricter than state law.

The legislation would also require single-sex bathrooms in schools and government agencies, with entry restricted to people identified as the appropriate gender on a birth certificate. That provision is in response to an ordinance passed by the city of Charlotte in February to make it legal for transgender people to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.

Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and LGBT advocacy groups said the proposal is the most extreme bill being considered nationwide.

"This bill is unique and extraordinarily offensive even in a year where we have seen state legislatures around the country attempt to outdo each other by introducing even more damaging legislation," said Cathryn Oakley, senior counsel to the Human Rights Campaign. "Fortunately, other states have all rejected those bills. Hopefully, North Carolina will also think better of this extreme and offensive piece of legislation as well."

Republican South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard recently vetoed a similar restroom restriction for students, while Tennessee's Republican-led state House tabled a similar measure Tuesday.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday declined to call lawmakers back to consider the proposed bill, saying that, while he believes the restroom issue must be addressed, the rest of the legislation is too broad to be considered in a special session unlikely to have time to accommodate public input.

House and Senate leaders used a rarely invoked power to call themselves back instead. House Speaker Tim Moore said Tuesday he believes McCrory will sign the proposal.

The General Assembly is slated to convene for special session at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The final version of the bill could change by the time it's made public, expected to be late Wednesday morning.

While the bill doesn't mention protections for people with disabilities, those protections exist in other parts of the law and were left unaffected by this bill, according to its sponsors.

35 Comments

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  • Brendan Dillon Mar 23, 2016
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    Nice try. The difference, of course, is that this would place a very real burden on transgendered people's ability to live their life in their correct gender, free of harassment not only from someone in the next stall, but from the government as well.

    If you or I were to lose our "plumbing" in a horrible accident, would we still be male? Of course we would, because our genitals are not the only thing that determines that.

  • Robert Fotch Jr Mar 23, 2016
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    I think I have a solution. On the mens room door a drawing of a penis and testicles and on the womens room door a drawing of a vagina. What ever you have down below that's the door you use. It really shouldn't be that difficult.

  • Clif Bardwell Mar 23, 2016
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    Be that as it may, though, the simple solution is for those whose biological plumbing makes them male should use the men's room, and those whose biological plumbing makes them female should use the ladies room. If they get harassed, there are already laws on the books to handle it.

  • Clif Bardwell Mar 23, 2016
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    You mean there isn't already a law against harassing someone?

    Who knew?

  • Brendan Dillon Mar 23, 2016
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    Which is exactly what this law would force them to do. Transgendered women (or as you insist on calling them, "biological males") would be forced to use the men's bathroom, regardless of their outward appearance and physiology (genitals notwithstanding). Transgendered men, many of whom have male musclulature and even beards, would be forced into the women's bathroom. Is that supposed to make people more comfortable?

  • Clif Bardwell Mar 23, 2016
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    Read the report. The statistics you cited referred to people who were harassed for using restrooms counter to their physiology. In other words, biological males were being harassed for trying to use the ladies room (and vice versa).

  • Brendan Dillon Mar 23, 2016
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    The statistics that I quoted are from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, and were published in 2013 in the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy. Your assertions, on the other hand, continue to be sourced from your own imagination.

    If a stalker can follow a victim from a restroom and assault them somewhere else, then they can follow them from literally anywhere. Banning the ordinance won't change that, or offer any actual protection that doesn't already exist in the law.

  • Clif Bardwell Mar 23, 2016
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    Now, you see this is what I'm talking about. How the heck do they know if a stalker has been in the ladies room, targeted his victim and then followed her to a more secluded place to attack her?

    You don't. So the "fact" you present is not really a fact after all.

    As far as your other "facts", where do you get these statistics? I have been asking in these forums on WRAL for a month now and haven't seen anything to back up the statement that transgenders have been harassed in such large numbers (by all accounts there are about 700,000 transgenders which means that, by your statement, nearly half a million people have been harassed.)

  • Raleigh Rose Mar 23, 2016
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    This part here gets to the center of why I have a big problem with what the GA is doing. If cities or local communities want to pass ordinances to stop discrimination they will not be able to. This is nothing more than a law to make it legal to discriminate against certain groups. How is that, in any shape or form, a good thing? It's like the GA is saying "Feel free to discriminate-we got you covered!"

    "A draft version of the bill circulating Tuesday night sets out a new statewide non-discrimination ordinance that covers only "race, religion, color, national origin, or sex." City and county governments would be banned from passing more stringent local ordinances that might add to those protections."

  • Brendan Dillon Mar 23, 2016
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    Over 200 cities in the U.S. have passed laws similar to Charlotte's, and there has not been a single example of sexual assault that would have been prevented by overturning those laws. On the other hand, 68% of transgendered people have experienced harassment in public restrooms, 18% have been denied access to either restroom, and 9% have been physically assaulted while trying to use the restroom. There's nothing hypothetical about this. The law being considered today would cause more assaults than it would prevent.

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