Thanks to the ACLU and Lambda Legal, North Carolina has a ripe opportunity to atone for its shameful treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Tar Heels. The groups filed a federal lawsuit challenging House Bill 142, legislation which was falsely called a repeal of the now notorious anti-LGBT law HB2. Gov. Roy Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein and legislative leaders should decline to defend HB142’s constitutionality and restore LGBT residents’ political rights.
Like HB2, the faux repeal bill blocks local governments from enacting laws banning discrimination against any class of people not protected under state law for (at least) four years. HB142 mirrors HB2 in its aim to choke off LGBT North Carolinians’ access to the political process. The intent behind HB2 merely transferred to HB142 but with an added time limit – it is an unconstitutional attempt to harm an unpopular minority.
In North Carolina, there are no express protections barring discrimination in housing, employment or public accommodations on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The LGBT community has made significant strides to combat the harms of discrimination by securing municipal anti-discrimination laws in discrete jurisdictions. Indeed, it took some 25 years for LGBT rights activists to secure robust protections in Charlotte. Leaders in Durham, Greensboro, and Raleigh have expressed interest in taking up protections for LGBT persons like Charlotte. While an individual’s right to enjoy full, equal citizenship should not depend on their zip code, municipal protections signify real progress toward achieving robust statewide civil rights protections. Under HB142, these local efforts were shamefully snuffed out. Read more via News and Observer