ACLU and Lambda Legal oppose newly proposed HB2 repeal
North Carolina’s General Assembly has been struggling to handle blowback from the state’s transgender bathroom law, HB2, but a newly proposed repeal effort is not cutting the mustard for LGBTQ advocates.
HB2, introduced, approved and signed into session in less than a few days last May, limits bathroom use to align with your birth gender, not your gender identity. It also prohibits localities from expanding protections to LGBTQ city or state employees.
According to Forbes, the state has already lost several hundred million dollars because of the law. the NCAA, NBA, and high profile musical acts have pulled events from the state because of the law. The NCAA is also threatening to pull any future events from the state if the law is not changed, an estimated additional economic impact of about $250 million.
A new bill, HB186, has been submitted by two Democrats and two Republicans, and it hopes to roll back the controversial legislation, but its language still has LGBTQ advocates concerned.
1 – Repeal HB2, pull it out of the code of law
2 – Regulating who uses bathrooms “is a matter of general, statewide concern”
3 – Only the General Assembly can regulate bathroom use
As for the second half of HB2 which limited cities in their power to protect employees, HB186 creates a system for cities to do that, but it can all be scrapped with a popular vote. Interestingly enough, it also rewrites the state’s human right’s policy and expands its list of protected classes, but still omits LGBTQ folks.
Virginia faces the same issue – because we’re a Dillon Rule state, localities are unable to use or create powers not given to them by the state including expanding protections. And our state’s Human Rights Act, hate crime law and nondiscrimination laws in employment, housing and services all lacks specific protections for LGBTQs.
But back in NC, the ACLU and Lambda Legal, both of which have lawsuits pending over HB2, are not impressed with the proposed HB 186.
“Rather than repeal H.B. 2 entirely, this proposal still sanctions discrimination against transgender people and makes it harder for local governments to protect LGBT people under the law,” said Sarah Gillooly, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “Treating LGBT people as second-class citizens whose rights and equal protection can be put to a vote is disgraceful and will not undo the ongoing harm H.B.2 has brought to North Carolina and its people.”
“This proposed bill isn’t fooling anyone. LGBT people aren’t safe under HB 2 and they aren’t safe under this proposed bill either,” said Simone Bell, Southern Regional Director for Lambda Legal based in Atlanta. “The General Assembly is going to have to do better than this if their intention is to clean up the state’s anti-LGBT reputation. The repeal and replacement of HB 2 with a real non-discrimination bill, a bill that recognizes the contributions LGBT North Carolinians make to this state, is a critical and essential step forward.”
Other attempts to solve the HB2 problem have similarly faltered, despite the 2016 election of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper being seen as a referendum on the law. This is the first bi-partisan effort to move past the law, and it seems even some legislators sympathetic to trans folks are not pleased either.
Rep. Ed Hanes, D-Forysth, told the Winston-Salem Journal he was “not married” to every part of the bill, but “it is a great beginning for conversation.”
“… we believe North Carolina could lose upwards of half-billion dollars in economic impact”February 7, 2017
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