The state of North Carolina passed a law blocking anti-discrimination laws on the local level. Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, that requires everyone to use the bathroom of their born biological sex and gives the state priority over the passage of anti-discrimination laws. After signing the bill, McCrory tweeted, “Ordinance defied common sense, allowing men to use women’s bathroom/locker room for instance. That’s why I signed bipartisan bill to stop it.”
CNN reported that the bill passed the state’s House of Representatives in an 82-26 vote. After Senate Democrats walked out of the vote in protest, the bill passed in a 32-0 vote in the Senate.
The new law has outraged numerous civil liberty groups. CNN reported that acting executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in North Carolina, Sarah Preston, said “Rather than expand nondiscrimination laws to protect all North Carolinians, the General Assembly instead spent $42,000 to rush through an extreme bill that undoes all local nondiscrimination laws and specifically excludes gay and transgender people from legal protections.” Politico reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo (D- N.Y.), banned all “non-essential, publicly funded travel” to North Carolina. Cuomo also did this last year in response to Indiana’s highly controversial “religious freedom” bill, which did not directly prohibit discrimination towards LGBT people, until an explicit clause was put in to address that issue.
McCrory has been fighting the backlash from the law. In an interview with NBC News, McCrory said “We are not taking away any rights whatsoever.” He reaffirmed his position on the law, stating that he would refuse to hear pleas to repeal it. On another interview with Fox & Friends, McCrory noted that voters in Houston overwhelmingly voted against Proposition One, better known as the Equal Rights Ordinance, last fall. Proposition One would have made business that restricted the bathroom transgender people could use a punishable offense of up to $5,000. “And there are no protests for boycotts of Houston, Texas during the Final Four basketball tournament. Nor should there be,” McCrory said. “So none of these corporations that are now criticizing North Carolina, they’re all going to be advertising during the NCAA championship, and there’s a lot of corporate and political and media elite hypocrisy about this. It’s really sad.”
McCrory is the third governor to take action on LGBT issues in the month of March. According to NBC News, South Dakota’s governor vetoed a bill barring transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice after much outcry. Along with South Dakota and North Carolina, Georgia’s governor vetoed a “religious freedom” bill that drew threats of boycotts from major companies such as Yelp and Intel.
Editor’s Note: Information from NBC News, Fox News, CNN and Politico was used in this report.