By Martin Schuller
Christian Action League
September 2, 2016
WINSTON-SALEM – Friday of last week, Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled to partially block North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” HB 2 – Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act.
Three University of North Carolina (UNC) transgender students had petitioned the court for an injunction on the bathroom section of the measure before it goes to trial. Five lawsuits have been levied against HB 2, including one from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Although Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee for the federal bench in the Middle District of North Carolina, did grant the request for the injunction, he limited its application only to the three transgender students represented in the request. He ordered UNC to return to the “status quo” that existed for the students before HB 2.
Schroeder’s ruling hinged on a previous decision by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in G.G. v. Glouchester County School Board. In that case, the federal appellate court, which has jurisdiction over North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, decided in favor of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) arguments that transgender people are entitled to use the private facilities with which they subjectively identify and not necessarily their biological sex.
The G.G. v. Glouchester ruling has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices on the High Court temporarily blocked enforcement of the 4th Circuit decision in August until they decide whether to hear the case, but their action did not overturn the appellate ruling.
Schroeder’s ruling seemed to suggest he might agree more with the dissent in the 4th Circuit’s ruling, but argued he was constrained to “follow circuit precedent.” He added he thought the transgender plaintiffs were likely to win their claims against the bathroom section of HB 2, but he did not believe their contentions that HB 2 violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause would succeed.
Schroeder’s decision is not a final ruling in the case.
Dr. Mark Harris, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church, Charlotte, and a former candidate for both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, told Baptist Press (BP), that even though the ruling had a limited effect, “any decision like this feels like it takes us one step back. You would like to have every ruling come down in favor of HB 2 in terms of stating the issues of privacy and safety that we feel like are impacted here.”
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, was critical of Schroeder and his ruling. “If you believe the courts are directed to be non-political in order to achieve justice, then you’re looking at the reality of the matter right here. This is a federal judge playing it right down the middle – a little for this one – a little for that one. But where’s justice?” he said. “This issue is as clear as a bell constitutionally and morally. It’s black and white, good and evil. When law is determined on the basis of subjective reasoning, when a woman has to make room for a man to shower next to her just because he thinks he’s a woman, then that’s the beginning of the end of law being grounded in truth. And without truth there is no justice, and ultimately no freedom.”
Appealing Schroeder’s Ruling
On Monday, attorneys for the three transgender students announced that they intended to appeal Schroeder’s ruling to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to expand the injunction to all transgender people in North Carolina.
Chris Brook, legal director for the North Carolina chapter of the ACLU, said in a statement, “We know the harmful effects of HB 2 are far reaching, and that is why we are seeking broader relief for the thousands of transgender people who call North Carolina home.”
UNC Chapel Hill Diversity Madness
According to the Raleigh News and Observer (N&O), on Wednesday, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, announced that it was taking a series of steps to improve diversity and inclusion.
Last week, the University removed non-specific gender bathroom signs at one of their campuses and replaced them with signs that featured male and female figures and a wheelchair. That action seriously angered some students, who said the signs only represented male and female and failed to recognize transgender people. They said that all gender identities and expressions were still welcome and the signage should be ignored.
The announcement by UNC administrators stated that because of the concerns expressed about the change in signage, gender-neutral facilities at the University would now only be labeled with a generic pictogram of a toilet with the word “Restroom.”
“Do you see where this political correctness, this nonsense, this moral confusion, takes our young people? It makes them crazier than a soup sandwich,” said Dr. Creech.
“This is diversity madness,” he added.
Texas and 12 Other States Stand with NC on HB 2
Also on Wednesday, the Associated Press announced that Texas and 12 other states have filed an amicus brief standing with North Carolina in their defense of HB 2.
The AP report said the group behind the brief “largely overlaps with states that won a ruling last week against Obama administration guidelines on transgender restroom access in schools.”
See Christian Action League related story: Texas Judge Issues Nationwide Temporary Block on Bathroom Directive for Public Schools
“The states also argue the North Carolina proceedings should be halted temporarily because that ruling and a Virginia case that the U.S. Supreme Court may hear,” reported the AP.