Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality NC issued the following statements in response to news that only two days after the deadly attack in Orlando targeting LGBTQ people — almost all Latinx — anti-equality activists in North Carolina are lobbying the General Assembly and held a press conference in an attempt to keep lawmakers from repealing the deeply discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ HB 2 law. Yesterday, the editorial board of the Raleigh News & Observer wrote, “Now, after the tragedy in Orlando, HB 2 looks even more like a gratuitous, cruel slap at gays, lesbians and transgender people. It is all the more embarrassing to North Carolina than it was – and it was plenty embarrassing.”
“Have they no shame? Have they no empathy? It is unconscionable that as the nation mourns the 49 victims of the horrific massacre in Orlando, anti-equality activists in North Carolina are urging lawmakers to support one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQ laws in the country,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “The so-called NC Values Coalition is showing its true colours today. Their callous disregard for the victims and loved ones devastated by this heartbreaking tragedy is disgusting and indefensible. Only a deep-seated hatred could drive a decision to attack a community while it is in mourning.”
“The LGBTQ community has been in shock over the terrible tragedy in Orlando where 49 innocent people were killed in one of the few places they felt safe. Now a few days later, the NC Values Coalition reminds LGBTQ North Carolinians that the deeply discriminatory HB 2, one of the worst anti-LGBTQ laws in the nation, needs to stay on the books,” said Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality NC. “In an unfathomable decision to keep a news conference in support of the hateful law, the group has made it very clear that they have little respect for a community in mourning. The rhetoric perpetrated by the NC Values Coalition and codified in law by HB 2 sets a dangerous reasoning to justify any discriminatory action taken against the LGBTQ community. Today was not the day to hold a news conference in support of an anti-LGBTQ law. Today is the day to honour those that we have lost and protect the ones most vulnerable by working towards a full repeal of HB 2.”
HB 2 has eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. In addition, the legislation prevents transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. It also compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, major airports, and convention centres. Further, HB 2 revokes the ability to sue under state employment non-discrimination law on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, religion, national origin, and sex.