Roy Cooper Allies Sue North Carolina over HB2 Replacement

The fight over a controversial law that put North Carolina in the national spotlight for months may not be over.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina and Lambda Legal are set to discuss new court action Friday against North Carolina’s House Bill 142, the law that replaced House Bill 2.

When HB2 was made law in March 2016, it required individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools and universities.

It also initially took away the ability of employees to sue their employers in state court for discrimination or wrongful termination, among other things. Months later, the legislature voted only to change a portion of HB2 that stripped workers of the right to sue their employers for wrongful termination.

House Bill 2 came as a response to a non-discrimination ordinance passed in February 2016 by the Charlotte City Council. The ordinance broadly defined how businesses should treat gay, lesbian and transgender customers. The debate, as in other cities, focused on bathrooms.

A year later, in March 2017, Governor Roy Cooper and Republican leaders reached a deal to repeal HB2 which re-set bathroom access to pre-HB2 standards. It was then signed into law.

But the law also included a moratorium preventing local governments from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances through at least December 1, 2020.

Civil rights organizations immediately spoke out about HB142, calling the deal “an insult.”

Reverend William Barber II, the head of the North Carolina NAACP, said “setting a moratorium on local governments ability to pass anti-discrimination ordinances and to regulate private employment practices is another sweeping act of hubris by the legislature and takes power from officials elected by the people to serve the rights of the people.”

He called the bill “anti-worker, anti-access to the courts, and anti-LGBTQ.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina called on lawmakers to reject the deal.

“One year after HB2 was introduced and signed into law in just 12 hours, it is shameful that legislative leaders and North Carolina’s governor are once again rushing through a discriminatory anti-LGBT measure without proper vetting or an opportunity for public input,” said Sarah Gillooly, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “The way to undo HB2’s profound damage to North Carolina and its people has always been a full, clean repeal, but this proposal would keep anti-LGBT provisions of the law in place and continue to single out and target transgender people.”


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