Three step forward to represent challenge to HB2

Posted March 28

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— Two transgender people and a lesbian law school professor filed a federal lawsuit Monday to challenge a new North Carolina law that blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules and requiring transgender students to use bathrooms assigned to their biological sex.

The three people, along with several civil liberties groups, wasted little time challenging the law, which was approved last week by the legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

GOP lawmakers wanted to overturn an impending Charlotte ordinance that allowed transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity. But the new law also prevents all cities and counties from extending protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity at restaurants, hotels and stores.

"By singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, (the new law) violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution," the lawsuit reads.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and Equality North Carolina scheduled a Monday news conference in Raleigh to discuss lawsuit details.

Corporations have criticized the law, but McCrory and allies are defending it.

In addition to enabling transgender people to legally use restrooms aligned with their gender identity, the Charlotte ordinance would have provided broad protections against discrimination in public accommodations in the state's largest city.

North Carolina is the first state to require public school and university students to use only those bathrooms that match their birth certificates, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights say state legislators demonized them with bogus claims about bathroom risks. Supporters say the new law protects all people from having to share bathrooms with people who make them feel unsafe.

Lawsuit defendants include McCrory and the University of North Carolina system, where one plaintiff works and another attends college. The system's 17 campuses also must comply with the law.

Another defendant is Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat who has criticized the law and wants it repealed. He is challenging McCrory this fall for governor. Cooper is a defendant because his office defends the state in litigation.

Two plaintiffs - UNC-Chapel Hill employee Joaquin Carcano of Carrboro and Payton Grey McGarry, a student at UNC-Greensboro - were born female and now consider themselves male but have not changed their birth certificates.

The lawsuit says Carcano used a designated men's restroom at work and McGarry used a campus locker room without any problems before the law was passed. Using different restrooms could cause them anxiety and fear, the lawsuit reads. Now they'll have to search for bathrooms in other buildings or at local businesses, according to the lawsuit.

Forcing McGarry "to use the women's restroom would also cause substantial harm to his mental health and well-being," the lawsuit reads. "It would also force him to disclose to others the fact that he is transgender, which itself could lead to violence and harassment."


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  • Sam Nada Mar 28, 2016
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    Have you read the Charlotte ordinance? Which provision forces someone to do something? My understanding is it expands discrimination protection to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and allows individuals to choose a restroom consistent with their gender identity. Where is the force in the ordinance? In fact the new State law forces people to use facilities based on their birth certificate, and forces schools to have single-sex bathrooms. It also forces local municipalities to abide by State law. If the force of law is your concern then the State law seems much more objectionable. No?

  • Jarfaris Brown Mar 28, 2016
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    As far as I know men who dressed as women and women who dressed as men have always used the bathroom of their choice and no one made a big deal out of it Now, Charlotte finds it necessary to pass an ordnance to force people to comply. The Legislature wouldn't have had to deal with it, if Charlotte hadn't forced their will upon the people.

  • Barrett Powell Mar 28, 2016
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    Why not use don't ask don't tell? What you do in the stall next to me is your business. I don't care. Why do you need a law either way to do what you have probably been doing all along?

    Why? Because everyone wants to force THEIR view on EVERYONE else. We are so divided as a Nation now, that we no longer identify as "Americans", or "White", or "Black", or "Male", or "Female". Everyone wants to identify with a subgroup that is searching for it's identity and it's 15 minutes of fame.

    Welcome to the new America.

  • Jarfaris Brown Mar 28, 2016
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    I would bet most of the people who are protesting it haven't read it or can not read it. They just know that when Rev. Barber tells them to protest something, they do it.

  • Jacob Smirnov Mar 28, 2016
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    Wages have been at their lowest since the 1970's. We have a generation that can't afford college. Islamic Extremists are trying to kill all of us.

    And this who uses what bathroom is now what we are spending our attention, time and money debating about!!!???!!!

    Come on people. Women go to the Women's bathroom and Men go to the Men's bathroom. Simple as that. If you have a problem understanding that, you need to go back to pre-school. Stop wasting our time and money with you nihilism.

  • Anne Havisham Mar 28, 2016
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    Bringing in the General Assembly for a Special Session cost NC taxpayers $42,000. Please make sure your tally begins with that.

  • Sam Nada Mar 28, 2016
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    You probably know more about this than I do, but I don't see mention here of a protected class in the same-sex marriage ruling:

    There are protected classes for discrimination on the basis of sex and genetics, but not specifically regarding transgender. Given the recent ruling I would anticipate equal protection to apply to transgender individuals. We'll see.

  • George Herbert Mar 28, 2016
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    Gov. McCrory's office has sent a new release that does not tell the truth. It says, "The non-discrimination policies in place today in cities like Raleigh, Greensboro and Asheville and in every business in North Carolina are the same as they were last month and last year."

    That is absolutely false. HB2 prevents cities and counties from having nondiscrimination policies that exceed the state's: "The General Assembly declares that the regulation of discriminatory practices in places of public accommodation is properly an issue of general, statewide concern, such that this Article and other applicable provisions of the General Statutes supersede and preempt any ordinance, regulation, resolution, or policy adopted or imposed by a unit of local government or other political subdivision of the State that regulates or imposes any requirement pertaining to the regulation of discriminatory practices in places of public accommodation."

    There's a similar provision regarding employment laws.

  • Betsy Sparks Mar 28, 2016
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    The idea that people fake their gender to sexually assault people in bathrooms is a myth. Look up the statistics in other states that allow gender identity based use of bathrooms. It just doesn't happen, ever.
    We've been reading the same statistics. There are way too many things the NCGA should be addressing instead of passing laws to chase a boogeyman that doesn't exist.

  • Tripp Weiland Mar 28, 2016
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    Out of curiosity, say a transgender male (that is a person born with female genitalia) that now undergoes hormone therapy to help their body become more like the gender to which they identify (male in this case) would be required to use the ladies room. So a trans gender male that now has a full mustache and beard (hormones can do this) will be in the same restroom with women. That is what yo are saying you want right? I just want to be clear on your post.
    How about a place that does not have a unisex restroom?
    Your lack of understanding of what it means to be transgender is clouding your judgement.

    The more important thing is that there are 200 cities in this country that allow transgender people to use the restroom of the gender to which they identify. To date there have been exactly ZERO instances of a transgender person assaulting anyone in a restroom. So this is a solution for which there is no problem.