March 23, 2016 at 10:30 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
North Carolina governor signs bill undoing state LGBT ordinances
Pat McCrory, Republican Party, South Carolina, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Gov. Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) (Photo by Hal Goodtree; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Despite calls from LGBT advocates urging him to veto the measure, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law late Wednesday legislation that would undo pro-LGBT non-discrimination ordinances in his state, including the recently approved measure in Charlotte.

In a statement, McCrory said he had signed the measure, House Bill 2, because he thinks the Charlotte ordinance, which would have allowed transgender people to use public restrooms consistent with their gender identity, violated privacy rights.

“As a result, I have signed legislation passed by a bipartisan majority to stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette which was to go into effect April 1,” McCrory said. “Although other items included in this bill should have waited until regular session, this bill does not change existing rights under state or federal law.”

McCrory blamed the city of Charlotte for enacting the ordinance, saying “the mayor and city council took action far out of its core responsibilities.”

“The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte,” McCrory said. “This radical breach of trust and security under the false argument of equal access not only impacts the citizens of Charlotte but people who come to Charlotte to work, visit or play. This new government regulation defies common sense and basic community norms by allowing, for example, a man to use a woman’s bathroom, shower or locker room.”

McCrory was expected to sign the law, although he didn’t give much notice about his planned action. After the legislature approved the measure on Wednesday, his office informed the media he would sign it before the next day.

At an estimated cost of $42,000, the North Carolina Legislature held a special session on Wednesday with the sole purpose of passing House Bill 2 and sending it McCrory. The House passed it after a three-hour debate by an 83-25 vote, but the Senate passed it more quickly, 32-0, after Senate Democrats walked out in protest of the bill.

Ian Palmquist, a North Carolina resident and director of leadership programs for the Equality Federation, a national umbrella group for state LGBT groups, condemned McCrory in a statement that called House Bill 2 “the most extreme, anti-LGBTQ legislation in the country.”

“If the governor had met personally with gay and transgender North Carolinians he would have seen people who go to work, go out to eat, and live their daily lives in our communities just like everyone else,” Palmquist said. “He would have seen people who should have a fair opportunity to provide for themselves and their families in our great state. I stand with the majority of North Carolinians when I say that this discriminatory law does not speak for us. We believe in fairness, freedom, and the ability of our cities and towns to govern themselves.”

The new law, among other things, prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms and locker rooms in schools and public agencies consistent with their gender identity. The law also supersedes all local ordinances governing non-discrimination and employment practices, which in a state with no prohibition against anti-LGBT bias would enable such discrimination across North Carolina.

The measure won’t only undo the Charlotte ordinance, but any LGBT non-discrimination city ordinance in the state, in addition to ordinances governing employee rights such as those making requirements for the minimum wage.

The law is along the lines of similar measures in Arkansas and Tennessee, which prohibit localities from enacting ordinances that go beyond non-discrimination protections in state law. But House Bill 2 is unprecedented in its scope and incorporation of language from anti-trans “papers to pee” bathroom bills in state legislatures across the country.

In a joint statement, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina announced they were exploring legal options to challenge the law.

“We expect the ACLU’s and Lambda Legal’s Legal Help Desks will light up with calls from those who suffer discrimination imposed by this law, and we stand ready to help,” said Tara Borelli, senior attorney with Lambda Legal. ”This law is in direct conflict with protections provided to students under Title IX and could cause the state to lose billions in federal funds. Instead of solving any real problems, the law would create new ones and could lead to intolerable and unfair conditions for transgender students who are entitled, by federal law, to a safe and equitable education.”

Critics say the state law contravenes Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which the Obama administration has interpreted to prohibit discrimination against transgender students in schools. According to Freedom for All Americans, bucking the federal law could result in the loss of $4.5 billion in federal funds for North Carolina.

“With the stroke of a pen, Gov. McCrory is torching his state’s reputation and intentionally exposing hundreds of thousands of LGBT people to harassment and discrimination,” said Matt McTighe, executive director for Freedom for All Americans. “Gov. McCrory’s decision to hastily sign this bill will undoubtedly have economic consequences, but more worrisome is the message it sends to LGBT people – particularly youth – across the state. North Carolina is now squarely on the wrong side of history. Every single person – including LGBT people – deserves fairness and equality under the law, and we won’t rest until we can make that a reality across this nation.”

Joining the condemnation of McCrory for signing the legislation was Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“This is sadly unsurprising from a party that seems determined to stay stuck in the Stone Age on LGBT equality,” Wasserman Schultz. said. “From their refusal to accept marriage equality as the law of the land, to their disingenuous ‘free speech’ and ‘religious freedom’ justifications for discrimination, Republicans are hurting Americans who deserve the full and equal protection of the law. Now the same state lawmakers who pretend to love limited government are steamrolling over local officials just because they had the courage to stand up for transgender rights. Our friends in the LGBT community deserve better and so do all the people of North Carolina.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Time to change the all or nothing strategy that puts measures and likely legislation that would protect the community from discrimination in employment and housing on a path to failure over the single issue of transgender access to bathrooms! Get what you can passed then introduce the bathroom issue separately later. You people are so impetuous and impatient. I wonder if this would not be a better issue to litigate through the courts for a ruling rather than legislate?

    You can’t always get all you want when you want it. Let’s be realistic that many people are very uncomfortable with sharing bathrooms with transgender people. You are creating a wedge issue that will be exploited by social conservatives to win elections, oppose our legislation and gain support against us. You have to educate first and make people understand your point of view better and win their support before expecting acceptance of that into law. Simply being angry over it and lashing out won’t help you.

    Even some gay and lesbian people wouldn’t feel comfortable defending this right for you to their parents for example. It’s reality. I wouldn’t know how to defend it if asked nor do I feel completely comfortable with it per se. It’s hard enough sharing a bathroom with the same gender sometimes with heterosexuals when they know you are gay. Some men feel uncomfortable and that makes you feel uncomfortable.

    • Some people in the LGBT community don’t feel comfortable defending including transphobic gay bigots like you.

    • Wanna know how to defend it? All any of the anti-trans politicians talk about is the “horror of having a M-F transperson in the women’s room. How will these delicate flowers of womanhood feel when a tallm burly fellow with a full beard walks into the women’s room because this law forces that pre-op f-m into that facility, hmmm?

      • You have a point

      • if your drift is that their assertions are silly hysteria that doesn’t need a defense, your strategy is obviously failing.

        Social conservatives bank and thrive on fear and ignorance as wedge issues to win elections and push their agenda. Haven’t you figured that out yet?

        Most people don’t know a transgender person. Thus it’s easy to accept and believe what is said about them.

        They still do that with associating gay men with pedophiles out to recruit children. Their tactics on the bathroom issue are reminiscent of the Anita Bryant campaign of the 1970s.

        Wake up as you seem to live in a fantasy bubble of wide acceptance and understanding!

        • Also a lot of straight people wouldn’t recognize a transgender person because, uh…, they’re transgender. So relax!

          • what the heck is that supposed to mean? If people wouldn’t recognize them then why do they need legal protections from discriminization or bathroom rights? Enough must stick out like a sore thumb to worry about it.

            They impact my rights by tying their demands to legislation that benefits me so don’t tell me to relax. Wake up! And wise up! You obviously don’t know what you are talking about!!

          • Some– but not much– “compromise” may be warranted regarding fair and unfettered transgender access– but only if said ‘legislative compromises’ recognize, specifically, in the law, reasonable, nondiscriminatory transgender access rights and goals.

            For example, transgender access could be protected by a single, gender-neutral restroom for smaller public accommodations.

            But otherwise, your implication isn’t fair and it isn’t truthful.

            The truth is that transgender rights to public accommodations are recognized in the laws of a growing number of sates and localities now. So there is no political imperative to reverse the progress all of us have made.

            And the indisputable truth is that transgenders have stood by LGBs, shoulder-to-shoulder in our common HUMAN rights struggle for decades– indeed, since the very beginning. Every LGB owes ‘them’ a lot.
            They walk in the room
            And stare right through you
            Talking like
            We don’t exist
            They impact my rights by tying their demands to legislation that benefits me so don’t tell me to relax. **

          • What works in some states obviously doesn’t work in all states. Hence the bundling of rights strategy didn’t work in Texas and NC.

            I’m advocating piecemeal rather than all or nothing strategies. Not abandoning transgenders and supporting them altogether.

            Your specific unisex bathroom solution as a compromise and requiring that all public accommodations provide one to facilitate transgender needs sounds like a logical and viable way to get it passed that is hard for either side to deny!

            Whether or not they were there side by side from the beginning I wouldn’t know because we started out as just the LGB community and no one knew what transgender was.

            I’ve been involved with this over 30 years so I don’t need people telling me about how it was as I lived through it.

          • I’m afraid you’re a bit mistaken, Inma. A rich, empirical LGBT history preceded all of us.
            Whether or not they were there side by side from the beginning I wouldn’t know because we started out as just the LGB community and no one knew what transgender was. That’s the truth. I’ve been involved with this over 30 years so I don’t need people telling me about how it was as I lived through it.**

          • The first organizations and groups described themselves as gay or lesbian. There was little or no mention of trans as a group earlier than the 1990s. Were you there?

            Bi was added later but before trans. They may have existed but we’re not recognized as such. We thought they were drag queens.

          • It’s always informative and useful to have a broader perspective than one’s own experiences…


          • Is there s Clift notes version? Fifty-two pages is time consuming. If I didn’t have an open mind I wouldn’t bother to debate it. And as I said I don’t begrudge transgender people having justice and equality. I disagree only the tactics I see to achieve them.

            I don’t see any other perspective being allowed on this and when you voice one you get indignation and accusations of throwing people under the bus to shut one up!

            I’m sure you can frame an argument for anything in history. I didn’t live in a vacuum and I was quite militant and active in the cause when being openly gay was very taboo if not dangerous. I kept up on things going on around me as they evolved before we had social media, cell phones, the Internet and even a pc. I think I know the score.

          • I still do not get your point. Are you FOR protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community because they benefit you. Then why are bathrooms so important.? Have you flown? You have to use the bathroom that others have used-male-female-transgender. So what? Some of my students are transgender and I wouldn’t know it unless they tell me. What makes you think that they are so recognizable? Maybe you look for big feet and a five o’clock shadow, but not all transgender people can be so easy to spot. You wake up to the fact that even transgender people do not all look alike. You have been fooled and you will be fooled again.

          • LGBTQ? What’s the “Q”? There is always some new letter added to the movement.

            Maybe you can explain to me why if transgender people already are using the bathrooms and no one knows the difference why they feel it necessary to codify the right to use them? If it is not an issue then why give social conservative a wedge issue that they can exploit the fear, ignorance and hysteria of people to derail our legislation to end job and housing discrimination.

          • Transgender people are experiencing the same phenomenon that “black” people who “passed” for white used to be subjected to. White people didn’t know these people were black, but once it was discovered or revealed then prejudiced whites were indignant.

          • How would they find out? Are transgender people telling heterosexuals they are? Are they watching you undress!

            Someone suggested unisex bathrooms as a compromise be provided maybe you should be pushing for those to be added to existing options (as we don’t need less bathrooms) instead.

          • Reading your posts, I have to try to make sense out of nonsense. I give up.

        • You probably think that all black people look alike, too.

          • yet another off the wall response from you that makes no sense.

            It was you who said that most heterosexuals wouldn’t recognize a trans person so that means they blend completely into the population and all look alike to Hereros doesn’t it?

            If that is the case and some don’t stick out just like some gays and lesbians do, you couldn’t argue there is discrimination against you requiring legislative action. Think before you put you foot in your mouth.

  • The Supreme Court already struck down a similar law that voters in Colorado passed in 1992. Romer v. Evans struck down Colorado’s Amendment 2 which banned anti-discrimination laws passed by local governments.

    These hateful hillbillies in North Carolina are incapable of learning from the mistakes of others.

    • Back to the courts, for sure.

      But does anyone know how/if Romer and the other locality ordinance cases from the 90s serve as law or precedent in this case?

      • Of course Romer v Evans is precedent: stari decisis. North Carolina’s new law prevents local governments from passing anti-discrimination law that protect gay and transgendered people, as did Colorado’s Amendment 2. There is no substantial difference.

        • Well that’s good. NC is in the 4th Circuit which includes both Carolinas and VA as I recall?

          Even without Garland, SCOTUS probably remains 5-3 against this kind of transparent anti-LGBT reaction to Obergefeld.

        • This is actually a harder case. Romer involved banning laws protecting Gays. The Court held Colorado had no legitimate basis for the distinction it was making by limiting the law to Gays. HB 2, however, is directed at gender, for which NC, for good or bad, can probably make a legitimate argument. I fear these discriminatory laws will pass constitutional muster. IMHO, opposition would be best through political and economic challenges.

          • Some of what they mean to restrict, especially with regard to students, is a violation of Title ix according to the U.S. Attorney General. And they weren’t dumb enough to attempt to deny access to the courts or the governor as Colorado’s amendment did) (as if McCrory would ever issue such an order). Also, there was a recent decision by the EEOC that transpeople are covered under the civil rights act: See Macy v Holder.

          • Re. Romer, sadly, Lady and Scotts may be closer to the mark, but there are still some judicial tools in the toolbox…

            THE DAILY BEAST
            Unfortunately, even a law based on a lie is not unconstitutional, despite what some pundits have said. As I described here a year ago in the context of Arkansas’ anti-gay law, these bills are written to weasel around the Supreme Court’s ruling in Romer v. Evans that LGBT people cannot be singled out for discrimination. Bigots do that by avoiding any mention of LGBT people, and simply say that no municipality can enact a nondiscrimination ordinance stricter than state law. Of course, the only group not included in the state law but included in local ones is the LGBT—but since they aren’t mentioned by name, the law is likely constitutional.

            However, the North Carolina law definitely violates Title IX, the federal education nondiscrimination law, as that law has been interpreted by courts. That means it jeopardizes $4.5 billion in federal education funding that North Carolina receives. And it will surely be challenged in court.**


            You may also remember that this is unconstitutional. In the 1996 case of Romer v. Evans, the Supreme Court held that Amendment 2 was unconstitutional, since there was no basis for it other than animus against gay people.

            So how is Arkansas’ effort kosher?

            Clever drafting. Its writers well aware that Amendment 2-style actions are unconstitutional, the Arkansas bill cleverly bans local governments from extending civil rights protection to “any class not covered in state law.” Paraphrasing Mayor Quimby here, “That could be any protected class that we don’t like.” Not just homosexuals.

            Early media coverage, of course, has not taken the bait. Buzzfeed, for example, reported that “Arkansas Legislature Passes Bill Allowing LGBT Discrimination.” That’s true, of course, but legally, thanks to the clever drafting of the bill, the headline should read “Arkansas Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Discrimination Against Everyone The State Hasn’t Protected.”

            See the difference? The first is definitely unconstitutional. The second, though… well, maybe.**


        • Jack, You read my answer, too.

      • See above.

    • I’m sure the opposition will site Amendment 2. The difference between that state constitutional amendment and this law is that Amend. 2 attempted to not only rescind civil rights laws in Denver, Boulder and Aspen, it sought to deny LGBT citizen access to: a state, county or municipal court decision granting civil rights, any legislation doing so, or an executive order to that effect. It would have, in the words of Justice Kennedy, made LGBT people “stranger(s) to our laws”. So the District Court may not find Amend. 2 sufficiently germane. On the other hand, the civil rights groups would be remiss not to start there. I’m a Colorado resident and I watched the whole ugly mess unspool.

  • Hmmm. Republicans want to safeguard bathrooms and locker rooms? Maybe keep their politicians out of them.

  • We all know the real essence of this bill is blatant Bigotry toward Transgender People. People of North Carolina you have taken the first step to violate Church and state. Please consider these words from many years ago……………

    “Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.”

    This will come back to haunt you much as Indiana and South Dakota.

  • Proud to be born and raised in NC. You turd burglars, rug doctors, and switch hitters need to at least leave us alone in the bathroom. Is nothing sacred? Romans 1:26-32 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

  • I hope the people of the state of North Carolina pay for the actions of this governor and his legislatures who discriminates against the LGBTQ comunity. BOYCOTT NORTH CAROLINA! DO IT NOW, DO IT WITH FEELING, DO IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT.

  • I am so glad I live in Vermont. Obviously North Carolina only has tolerance for a narrow certain brand of Christian beliefs that justify bigotry and hatred. I know that I am not welcome there.

    • Ditto. I am glad that I lived in Hawaii where transgender people are part of the culture and respected. I don’t get all the heart burn over what is a non-issue in some cultures.

  • No point for anyone to uphold the rule of law there when politicians target other people’s family members.

  • How ’bout a bill to keep politicians out of our pockets? Christian conservatives out of our bedrooms?

  • It’s unfortunate that they did not list all the impacts created by the statute. If the only issue was Transgender bathroom selection based on their feelings vs.their current biological status, then they belong to the gender represented by that biology and should not have access to the opposites restrooms facilities…The ideal fix would be to build another bathroom with the appropriate designation…..I do have 11 & 14 year old grand daughters…I asked them their feelings…They were apprehensive about a biological boy using the girls bathroom…I’m a lifelong Democrat and a concerned grand father. I hold no ill will to Transgender People…but biological boys using the girls bathroom is not the right ‘fix’ for this issue.

    • Show one instance of a transperson doing harm to a woman or girl in a women’s room. You can’t, because it doesn’t happen. On the other hand, a person presenting as a woman forced to use the men’s room is in imminent danger. There are many documented case of transwomen being assaulted and raped in men’s rooms. People who worry about a transperson in a women’s room doing anything other than using the toilet, washing their hands, and exiting have filthy, twisted minds and if they are men imagining what they might do in that circumstance.

      • I am not criticizing people who are born or elect to become transgender. I do not think that true transgender men/boys present a physical threat to girls using the restrooms…It is a bad law that allows boys to use the girls bathroom…Build bathrooms and identify them as Gender non specific. As a man, can I walk into a women’s bathroom in any venue and utilize the facilities? HECK NO! A man is a man is a man…Just because I put on a dress…I still remain a man….

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