February 8th, 2017
An effort to end the North Carolina HB2 law, referred to as the “bathroom bill,” recently failed. The proposed repeal would have ended a compromised law that targets LGBTQ individuals, but opposing sides in the debate failed to do anything. The debate concerning HB2 is particularly complicated and involves a variety of laws, parties with conflicting interests, and financial repercussions.
The Purpose of HB2
Passed last year, the “bathroom bill” limits protection for LGBTQ individuals by requiring transgender individuals to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender on the individual’s birth certificate. Social conservatives have supported HB2 because these individuals believe that the law provides privacy and protection for children who use locker rooms and restrooms.
The United States Justice Department and other agencies have countered this argument by contending that the threat of sexual predators posing as transgender persons to enter bathrooms is so low as to be virtually nonexistent. The Department of Justice has even filed a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina with the argument that HB2 violates Title VII of the Civil Rights of Act of 1964. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual on the basis of sex. HB2 is discriminatory against transgender employees on the basis of sex because the law treats transgender employees differently from similarly situated non transgender employees.
Individuals have also argued that HB2 violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Under Title IX, schools that receive federal funding are prohibited from excluding transexual students from the bathroom consistent with that individual’s gender identity. HB2 also directly contradicts established precedent by the Supreme Court, which has previously invalidated measures that prohibit municipalities from passing LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinances.
The Anti-Discrimination Clause in HB2
A clause in HB2 removes the right from all North Carolina employees to file a lawsuit against an employer who discriminates on the basis of age, biological sex, color, handicap, national origin, race, and religion. Although one clause states that this type of discrimination is unlawful, another clause in HB2 states that the bill does not create a right in any individual to initiate a lawsuit on the basis of this type of discrimination. As a result, while HB2 claims that it is unlawful for employers in North Carolina to discriminate against employees, employees cannot sue employees on the basis of this type of discrimination.
The Goal of The Universal Life Church
As a repercussion of this event, global corporations and national sporting will likely to continue to stay away from the state. Further crippling North Carolina’s economy, companies like Deutsche Bank and Paypal have backed out of projects that would have brought hundreds of jobs to the state. There are likely to be a variety of developments and updates to this anti LGBTQ law over the following months and years. It is the goal of the Universal Life Church’s blog to track these various developments concerning news about HB2 and various other types of LGBTQ related laws to keep our readers well-informed.
(image courtesy of Richie Diesterheft from Chicago, IL, USA)