US education secretary calls HB2 'hateful'

Posted May 2, 2016

— U.S. Secretary of Education John King says laws restricting which bathrooms transgender students can use, such as North Carolina's House Bill 2, should be rolled back, but he stopped short of threatening any loss of federal funding.

"They are hateful laws, and should be repealed," King told the Education Writers Association conference in Boston on Monday.

He said the laws send "a deeply problematic message to young people in schools and should be changed."

King, who was confirmed by the Senate on March 14, stopped short of talking about any potential loss of federal funding as a result of the measures, but he did reference the possibility in his remarks.

Opponents of House Bill 2, which lawmakers passed in March in reaction to a local nondiscrimination ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council, have said for weeks that the measure could put billions of dollars in federal education funding at risk. While the federal government can't order a school district or a state to change its policy toward transgender individuals, it can withhold federal funding.

That issue is at the heart of a lawsuit in Virginia that was recently the subject of a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that could have an impact on North Carolina. Backers of such bathroom privacy laws, including Gov. Pat McCrory, have said in that case that President Barack Obama's administration over-reached in interpreting a section of the Title IX gender-equity law. But transgender advocates and the administration maintain federal law requires that transgender students be able to use the restroom and locker room that correspond with their gender identity.

The 4th Circuit judges appeared to give some deference to the administration's argument, although they did not settle the case one way or the other. Instead, it has gone back to a lower court for trial.

"I don’t want to get ahead of enforcement actions we may take in regards to North Carolina and Mississippi," King said. "My hope is legislators will realize they have made a terrible mistake."

Although bills have been filed to repeal House Bill 2 in the North Carolina legislature, General Assembly leaders say that a full repeal is unlikely and any potential changes would likely focus on a part of the bill unrelated to the restroom provisions.


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  • Xander Bogaerts May 3, 2016
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    Hm seems like HB2 has been in the works for some time. At least since winter 2015.

    Speaking of telling the difference between female and male, take this quiz:
    Read more at http://www.wral.com/share/page/1896337/?id=15642383#8VId9BoPgzoe4CkE.99

  • Robert Fotch Jr May 3, 2016
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    I can only guess that this guy is one of the perverts the law is meant to protect children from in the first place. I could care less what his opinion is. Everyone has one!

  • Johnny Malaria May 3, 2016
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    Much as I appreciate the humor, this bill affects ANYONE subject to discrimination in the workplace. It denies ANYONE the right to sue an employer in state court. It sets a horrific (look up the definitions) burden on those people most likely to be on the receiving end of discrimination - i.e., they'd have to seek legal redress for violation of their constitutional protections in federal court. That's a disgrace. It's awful, shocking, horrendous, fearful - all synonyms for horrific. If I were one of the group of people most susceptible to discrimination then I'd be fearful.

  • Xander Bogaerts May 3, 2016
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  • Xander Bogaerts May 3, 2016
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    I suppose we can debate Charlotte, Obama, campaign offices, etc, but...

    The fact remains that HB2 denies discrimination protection in workplace to LGBT. Why did the NCGA (authors of HB2) find it necessary to remove workplace protections from discrimination at state level for LGBT?

    It is obvious that HB2 went well beyond the author's stated purpose of 'bathroom protection' by removing workplace protection and removing local government's ability to raise minimum wage.

  • John Heida May 3, 2016
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    Xander i realize that... but 28 other states private biz can do the same thing, set their own rules.... it's nothing new, has been on the books a long time. Charlotte did this bathroom stuff on purpose, during election year... do you know Obama still has a campaign office in Durham, 8 years after he was elected ? he has them all over the country -- what for ? to push the social PC agenda, that's it......

  • Mark Cahall May 3, 2016
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    Johnny Dengue Fever: "horrifically discriminatory"

    Oh the horror!!! Someone break out the drama queen extinguisher!! The horrification is over-washing us like a 300 foot tidal wave!

    They left "sexual orientation" out of the bill so now no one can sue in state court over job discrimination based on sexual preferences, even straight people! How will we ever survive! Goodness gracious whatever shall we do?

    And the winner of the most melodramatic post of the year... Johnny... DENGUE FEVER!!!

    p.s. Just having a little fun Johhny, but come on man... really... "horrifically discriminatory"?
    Did you read the bill and freak out of your skin or something?

  • Glenn Fowler May 2, 2016
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  • Mark Cahall May 2, 2016
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    This guy says telling kids a man doesn't turn into a woman when he puts on a dress is a problem, and he's in charge of education, no wonder this country's in the pits

  • Xander Bogaerts May 2, 2016
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    HB2 allows businesses to discriminate, and the only protection is to sue in federal court (not state court, which is less expensive and the process shorter).
    Businesses can set their own policy in regards to restroom only.

    Also, HB2 specifically omits LGBT as protected class from discrimination, regardless of public/private.
    Read about it in part III: