Just two weeks after Missouri Republicans forced the passage of a bill that would make it legal for businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community, North Carolina Republicans held an emergency session to introduce a measure that would override every nondiscrimination bill in the state. Damn, our country is a beautiful mixing bowl filled with every flavor of hatred masquerading as religious liberty!
House Bill 2 was written in an attempt to undercut a local Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance, which was set to take effect on April 1. In effect, it is attempting to remove a nail with a bulldozer, and state representatives are seeking to bully the legislature into passing it by introducing it just an hour before its first committee vote. As a result, the legislators responsible for voting on the bill weren’t even sure what was in it.
House Bill 2 mandates that state law supersedes all local ordinances concerning wages, employment, and public accommodations—thereby negating and blocking local policies designed to protect people from discrimination. It would also mandate that single-sex public restrooms and locker rooms in publicly run facilities be restricted to people of the same corresponding birth sex.
Further, it would ban transgender students from school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity—teeing up a potential legal clash with the federal government, which says civil rights laws ban transgender discrimination in schools.
The bill also seeks to protect individuals from discrimination regardless of “race, religion, color, national origin, age, biological sex or handicap” with “biological sex,” defined in the bill as the sex listed on an individual’s birth certificate.
State Sen. Jeff Jackson has been vocal against the bill and the emergency measures taken to pass it. On his Facebook page, he wrote:
They are pushing this through as fast as possible. No one was allowed to see the bill until the committee met, then legislators were given 5 minutes to read it. It passed out of the committee and is now being debated on the House floor. It will almost certainly pass the House. Then it will be taken up in Senate committee, then to the Senate floor. All in one day.
If it becomes law, it means any business in the state can refuse service to any LGBT person - even by just posting a sign that says, “No Gays Allowed.” It is much broader than last year’s much-debated Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which at least required a “sincerely held religious belief” to refuse service. This includes no such requirement. Discriminate at will.
The press is just now waking up to the bait and switch that just occurred, which is why you haven’t heard much about this yet - but you will. This is going to be the broadest anti-LGBT legislation in the nation, and it will hurt our state deeply if it becomes law.
“That North Carolina is making discrimination part of the law is shameful,” said the state’s attorney general Roy Cooper in a statement.
“It will not only cause real harm to families, but to our economy as well.”
Image via Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.