House Dems file bill to expand nondiscrimination protections
Posted May 10, 2016 5:21 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The latest effort to roll back House Bill 2 was filed Tuesday in the state House.
House Bill 1078, dubbed the Equality for All Act, would include sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of personal attributes that are protected against discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, education, insurance and lending in the state.
House Bill 2, which was adopted in a one-day emergency session in March, excluded sexual orientation and gender identity from protections and barred cities or counties from adding them to local ordinances.
The U.S. Department of Justice sued the state on Monday, alleging that House Bill 2 violates the civil rights of transgender workers and students, and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch labeled it "state-sponsored discrimination."
Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders have argued that the Justice Department is trying to rewrite laws by including gender identity as a protected status, and they have filed court actions seeking a judicial ruling that would support House Bill 2.
"We have always known, and come to understand even more urgently during the HB2 debate, the incredible need for non-discrimination protections for LGBT and other North Carolinians,” Rep. Chris Sgro, D-Guilford, said in a statement. "This bill, along with the repeal of HB2, is the important next step that this General Assembly, and Governor McCrory must take in order to make North Carolina a true state of equality and help heal our national reputation."
Sgro, who also heads LGBT advocacy group Equality NC, is one of four sponsors of the bill. The others are Reps. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe, and Kelly Alexander, D-Mecklenburg.
Four other House Democrats filed a bill two weeks ago that would repeal House Bill 2.
House Bill 1078 also would add military or veteran status to the list of protected attributes. House Bill 2 didn't include that either because the authors said doing so could create a loophole that would allow discrimination.