Metro Weekly

North Carolina and UNC: HB 2 should remain in effect even as it’s challenged in court

Lawyers for plaintiffs slam defendants' request to continue enforcing controversial law

Louis Round Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Photo: Ildar Sagdejev, via Wikimedia).

Louis Round Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Photo: Ildar Sagdejev, via Wikimedia).

The state of North Carolina and the University of North Carolina (UNC) system have filed documents with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina arguing that HB 2, the state’s controversial anti-LGBT law, should stay in effect while the courts hear an ongoing challenge to the law. If the law is allowed to stay in effect, state officials will be able to continue enforcing its provisions, particularly its restrictions on transgender people’s use of public restrooms and other facilities.

As passed by the North Carolina General Assembly, and signed into effect by Gov. Pat McCrory (R), HB 2 overturns existing local ordinances that prohibit discrimination against LGBT people, and prevents other localities from attempting to pass similar LGBT-inclusive laws. It also prohibits transgender people from using bathrooms other than those designated for their sex as assigned at birth.

In May, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of North Carolina and Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of six North Carolinians, arguing that HB 2 violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as Title IX, discriminates based on sexual orientation and sex, and infringes on transgender people’s privacy. Lawyers for the plaintiffs later filed a subsequent motion for a preliminary injunction asking the court to stop the law from being enforced while its constitutionality is being challenged.

The groups representing the plaintiffs issued a statement slamming the state and UNC for suggesting the law remain in place.

“After rushing to enact HB 2 in a span of hours, the government is now asking the court for six months to study its own law, so it can figure out what to say in its defense, all while transgender people suffer,” the statement reads. “By arguing that HB 2 should remain in effect, Gov. McCrory, legislative leadership, and UNC are continuing to defend a law that specifically targets transgender people who just want to be able to use public facilities safely and securely like everyone else.

“Every defendant opposes efforts to block HB 2’s discriminatory provisions from remaining in effect while this case moves forward. In so doing, all of the defendants are continuing to inflict daily harm on the transgender North Carolinians we represent and to defy federal court rulings that conclude that federal law forbids discrimination against transgender people.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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