NC Lawmakers Double Down with “HB 2.0” Legislation

Today, the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC blasted the leadership of the North Carolina House of Representatives for proposing legislation that doubles down on the state’s anti-LGBTQ law passed in March, known as HB 2.

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The new proposal would continue some of the most vile aspects of the HB 2, including the provision that has made it illegal for transgender people to access certain restrooms and other facilities, as well as a section that blocks localities from passing non-discrimination protections for their own residents and visitors.

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“This is nothing more than ‘HB 2.0,’” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Anyone who cares about equality must reject this ridiculous proposal out of hand. This despicable bill would continue insidious policies targeting LGBTQ people for discrimination and do nothing to fix the mess HB 2 created. It’s past time for North Carolina lawmakers to listen to the overwhelming chorus of voices from across North Carolina and around the country calling for full repeal of this hateful law.”

“Legislative leadership must stop digging their own hole ever deeper. North Carolina can’t afford it,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “This leaked draft is the result of another backroom deal that does nothing to fix the problems of HB 2. We need to repeal HB 2 immediately. The legislature cannot cut and run.”

The new proposal doubling down on HB 2 does not address in any way the anti-LGBTQ discrimination perpetuated by the law and would not restore the ability of cities to pass LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination ordinances. Appallingly, this proposal would still offensively and dangerously require the overwhelming majority of transgender people to use restrooms that don’t correspond with their gender identity.

The discriminatory proposal being offered by lawmakers today does not change the harmful status quo for nearly every transgender person in North Carolina. In fact, it would only allow access for a minority of transgender people in three states – Tennessee, Ohio and Idaho — who may be living in North Carolina. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, only 24 percent of transgender adults have birth certificates that correspond to their gender identities. Many states, including North Carolina, require transgender people to have gender reassignment surgery to update their birth certificates. However, only 33 percent of transgender people actually have gender reassignment surgery. This is due to a variety of factors – including but not limited to cost, age, health and medical needs, and access to skilled providers.

Momentum for repeal of HB 2 has continued to grow since HB 2 was rammed through the legislature and signed in under 12 hours on March 23. More than 185,000 signatures were previously delivered to Governor McCrory’s office, and more than 200 major CEOs and business leaders have signed an open letter calling for full repeal of HB 2 — including many of North Carolina’s largest employers, like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, American Airlines, Replacements Ltd, RedHat, Biogen, and Mitchell Gold. Major film studios and corporations, from PayPal to Deutsche Bank, have stopped investments in the state because of the new law’s threat to employees and consumers. Artists including Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Dead & Company, and Cyndi Lauper have spoken out. Conventions have withdrawn from the state, taking substantial revenue with them, and the Charlotte Chamber said in May that HB2 has cost the Mecklenburg area alone $285 million and 1300 jobs.  The NCAA also announced that it will no longer hold events, including the Final Four, in cities that do not have LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws.

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.

Photo By John P Salvatore [CC0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons