North Carolina Lawsuit Claims “bathroom bill” Outcome still Lingers
No matter how many times the North Carolina bathroom bill has been revised and worded, it still has a stigma of discrimination aimed towards the LGBT community and prevents transgender persons from using restrooms that match their gender identity, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.
North Carolina landed in the national conversation over LGBT rights when it passed the “bathroom bill” and this lawsuit continues the high-profile legal battle that has kept the issue in the headlines nationally.
The state took the “bathroom bill” off the books in late March after a year because of the backlash that it received from many businesses, celebrities, and sport figures who refused to put any monies into the state- causing North Carolina to gain a reputation of “old south”.
Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal said the bill’s replacement known as H.B. 142, contains the same harmful effects of its predecessor.
“Legislators were forced to rewrite the law,” ACLU lawyer Chris Brook said to reporters. ” But make no mistake… H.B. 142 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing crafted to keep discrimination intact but sporting a new look.”
The “bathroom bill” was dismantled earlier this year due to an agreement between Republican legislative leaders and Democrats and led by Gov. Roy cooper. The requirement called for transgender people to use the restroom in many public buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.
The new law mandates that the General Assembly can make rules for public restrooms from now on and not local government or school officials. Local governments are also prohibited from enacting any new nondiscrimination ordinances for workplaces, hotels, and restaurants until 2020.
“The vacuum purposefully created by H.B. 142 in effect maintains the ban of the previous law and encourages discrimination by both government and private entities and individuals,” the lawsuit said. “The law offers no guidance to anyone except by implication and makes it impossible for a reasonable person who is transgender to know which restroom they can legally use.”
Republican lawmakers believe that the new law will meet the same standards as the “bathroom bill,” according to the lawsuit.
House Speaker Tim Moore cited in a statement that the replacement law ensures that “persons of the opposite sex cannot go into a designated multi-occupancy restrooms” and those that break the law could face criminal trespassing charges.
The lawsuit filed Friday said the new law infringes on individuals’ due process, equal protection rights and federal laws against discrimination in workplaces and schools.
Cooper’s spokesman, Ford Porter said in an email Friday: “The governors’s ultimate goal is statewide LGBT protections, and he is going to continue working toward that.”
The transgender community believe that they were used as bargaining chips to gain back popularity but the damage is still not fixed completely. “There’s so much gray area that it creates this confusion.” said Madeline Goss, a 41-year-old transgender woman from Raleigh who said she still fears for her safety under the current law.
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