By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
July 7, 2016
RALEIGH – While North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act remained largely intact last week as lawmakers wrapped up their legislative session, the law requiring people to use public bathrooms that match their biological gender is under a growing attack from the federal government.
The final week of the General Assembly’s short session began with Republican House leaders circulating draft legislation that was leaked to the Press. The proposed legislation would have restored workers’ rights to bring discrimination suits against their employers in state courts and would have created an anti-discrimination task force. It would also have paved the way for people who have had sex-reassignment surgeries in jurisdictions that do not provide for birth certificate changes to receive a “certificate of sex reassignment,” from the state registrar. Furthermore, it would have increased punishment for certain crimes committed in bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.
The draft legislation is believed to have been the result of ongoing negotiations between lawmakers and officials from the National Basketball Association. The NBA will decide by summer’s end whether to continue with plans to bring the 2017 All Star Game to Charlotte. The organization has demanded that transgender people at the venues be able to use the restroom of their choice.
House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) would not comment on the rumors of NBA talks.
“Numerous business leaders, individuals and groups contact the Speaker’s Office daily and we receive, appreciate and sometimes vet their ideas,” Moore’s spokeman Andy Munn told the media. “At the end of the day, the Speaker remains committed to making sure our citizens have the right to expect privacy in bathrooms and showers.”
Leaders of EqualityNC denounced the draft legislation demanding a full repeal of HB2, as did the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign.
Attorney General Roy Cooper also weighed in, reportedly phoning Democrats who supported the bipartisan effort to modify the law and urging them to vote against the measure. Cooper is challenging Gov. Pat McCrory in November’s election and has been outspoken in his opposition to HB 2, at one point refusing to defend it in court. But later after considerable pressure, he changed his mind and agreed to do it.
Though early indications were that the NBA considered the draft bill to be a step in the right direction, by July 1, the NBA and Hornets organizations released a joint statement saying they did not endorse the draft legislation, and thereafter any prospective compromise was obviously dead.
Lawmakers did, however, tweak the previous language from HB 2 to restore the right to sue for employment discrimination in state court before adjourning.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League said, “Our position has always been that when lawmakers passed HB 2 and when the Governor signed the bill, they did the right thing. We continue to believe this. Although most of the proposed changes of the draft legislation seemed rather innocuous, it behooves us to ask who would have been satisfied by these changes. I’ll tell you, no one. I have said it before and unashamedly say it again, the groups that oppose HB 2 such as The Human Rights Campaign, EqualityNC and the ACLU are social terrorists. They drive the opposition with lies and intimidations. Moreover, they are an unbending, immovable, aggressive, insistent force that would have every norm and moral turned on its head – every objection to their way vilified, penalized, fined, and criminalized by law. The only way to deal with such folks is to resist. That’s what lawmakers did during the last week of the NC General Assembly and I’m convinced this is what most North Carolinians want them to continue doing. I commend them for their principled stand.”
Lawmakers aren’t likely to call a special session to deal any further with issues related to HB 2, which means the earliest further changes might be considered would be after January 2017.
Within five days of the NBA announcement, the U.S. Department of Justice filed another in a chain of legal actions against the state, asking a federal judge to suspend HB2 pending the outcome of a trial.
The legislation (HB 2), passed in response to a Charlotte ordinance that would force businesses and other agencies to allow transgender residents to use whatever locker rooms and showers they chose, is already the subject of at least five lawsuits.
It is unclear when U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder will rule on the Justice Department’s request for an injunction, but a hearing could come before the end of next month.