Today at a press conference in Raleigh, NC, the Human Rights Campaign, Equality NC, the North Carolina Association of Educators, and Campus Pride blasted Governor Pat McCrory for filing a lawsuit defending his deeply discriminatory HB 2.
“There’s been bipartisan opposition to bills like HB2 for good reason. It is blatantly unconstitutional and violates federal civil rights law,” said HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs, JoDee Winterhof. “The Department of Justice’s response today should be no surprise to anyone, least of all Governor McCrory. Rather than wasting even more time and millions more taxpayer dollars defending a reckless and discriminatory bill, Governor McCrory should be working with state lawmakers to fix the mess he’s created.”
“Campus Pride is pleased to see the Department of Justice taking on the sanctioned discrimination created in North Carolina by the passage of HB 2. No student in North Carolina should fear for their safety in higher education — and no college should be allowed to openly discriminate against transgender youth,” said Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride. “As the Department of Justice has made clear, HB2 is in conflict with Title IX protections and jeopardises billions in federal aid coming to the State of North Carolina,” continued Windmeyer. “As an organisation based in North Carolina, we stand with Equality North Carolina, HRC and other LGBT and allied organizations in support of the DOJ and an end to HB2, whether through the courts or North Carolina politicians doing the right thing. Since it was signed by the Governor, Campus Pride has called for full repeal of House Bill 2. We have worked with North Carolina college students to do protests, march and speak out about HB 2 and are thrilled that serious action is being taken by the DOJ,” concluded Windmeyer.
Among its discriminatory provisions, HB 2 forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity, putting 4.5 billion dollars in federal education funding at risk. North Carolina has already lost more than a half billion dollars — and counting — in economic activity just from companies canceling or reconsidering plans to come to the state, and in cancelled conventions, concerts, and other lost tourism dollars. That doesn’t even include potential economic development that now just won’t happen in North Carolina because of HB 2’s discriminatory provisions, or the potential catastrophic loss of federal funding for schools, roads, bridges, and other essential services.
The Department of Justice isn’t alone in opposing HB 2. Republicans like South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed a bill similar to HB 2, noting that such a bill put the state at risk for a federal lawsuit. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley spoke out against a bill similar to HB 2. And Republican Senators Mark Kirk and Rob Portman have also opposed bills like HB 2.
The U.S. Department of Justice put North Carolina on notice that HB 2 violates federal civil rights law — including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 — and gave Pat McCrory and state officials until today to address the situation “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB 2.” McCrory responded with a reckless and indefensible lawsuit.
HB2 has eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. It also compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, convention centres, and airports. It also eliminated the ability of North Carolinians to be able to sue if they experienced discrimination in the workforce, including on the basis of race, religion, national origin and sex. Lawmakers passed the legislation in a hurried, single-day session, and Governor Pat McCrory quickly signed it into law in the dead of night.