Federal lawsuit filed over new North Carolina anti-discrimination law
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Opponents of a new North Carolina law blocking Charlotte and other local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules and requiring students to use bathrooms assigned to their biological sex have sued in federal court.
The lawsuit, filed Monday morning, names two transgender people who work or study on University of North Carolina system campuses, which now must comply with last week's law. The two were born female and now consider themselves male but have not changed their birth certificates. They say the inability to use the men's restroom or locker room will cause them fear and might lead to harassment.
The lawsuit also criticizes members of the General Assembly for their arguments that Charlotte's new ordinance needed to be overturned to protect women and children. The ordinance allowed transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity.
Read the entire complaint here:
"HB 2 is hurtful and demeaning. I just want to go to work and live my life. This law puts me in the terrible position of either going into the women's room where I clearly don't belong or breaking the law," said plaintiff Joaquín Carcaño. "But this is about more than bathrooms, this is about my job, my community, and my ability to get safely through my day and be productive like everyone else in North Carolina."
"We're challenging this extreme and discriminatory measure in order to ensure that everyone who lives in and visits North Carolina is protected under the law," said Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. "This cruel, insulting, and unconstitutional law is an attack on fairness in employment, education, and local governance that encourages discrimination against thousands of LGBT people who call North Carolina home, and particularly targets transgender men and women. HB 2 aims to override local school board policies, local public accommodations laws, and more."
"No legislature should be using its power to require cities, counties, or school districts to discriminate against anyone. This law is a targeted and unprecedented attack on the LGBT community, particularly against transgender people, both young people and adults," said Tara Borelli, Senior Attorney with Lambda Legal. "Clearly HB 2 is unconstitutional as it not only violates the guarantees of equal protection and due process in the U.S. Constitution but it also violates Title IX by requiring discrimination in education. North Carolina legislators cannot strip equality out of the Constitution and the law. "
The Charlotte ordinance would have enabled transgender people to legally use restrooms aligned with their gender identity, and would have provided broad protections against discrimination in public accommodations in the state's largest city.
North Carolina is the first state to require public school and university students to use only those bathrooms that match their birth certificates, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
Advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights say state legislators demonized them with bogus claims about bathroom risks. Supporters say the new law protects all people from having to share bathrooms with people who make them feel unsafe.
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