What to Know About North Carolina: Anti-LGBT Legislation Explained

On March 23rd, North Carolina passed new legislation: House Bill 2, otherwise known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which prevents transgender people from using the gendered bathrooms that they identify with, as well as rids the state of LGBT anti-discrimination measures. This means someone can be legally fired for simply appearing gay or transgender.

On April 5th, Mississippi passed a similar law-- House Bill 1253-- which legalizes the refusal of providing services to the LGBTQ community if it interferes with religious beliefs.

Why is this important? Simply stated, the basis of these laws is discriminatory and regressive. Regardless of your political affiliation or religious beliefs-- whether you believe in a liberal or loose interpretation of the Constitution-- these laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which states that state legislature must treat those under its jurisdiction equally. Unless you believe that legally refusing to serve a meal to a gay couple constitutes equal treatment, these legislatures are a tragedy and a huge blow to the recent progressive steps made by the United States, like the recent legalization of gay marriage.

Since the passing of these legislatures, both states have experienced tremendous backlash. They elicited some pretty negative responses:

  • The company PayPal canceled plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte.

  • The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has filed a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina claiming that HB2 violates the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

  • Musician Brian Adams canceled a concert in Mississippi after the passing of HB1253.

  • American rock icon Bruce Springsteen cited North Carolina’s passing of HB2 as his reason for calling off a performance in Greensboro.

  • Deutche Banke stated in an official release that it will freeze current plans to create new jobs in North Carolina.

  • Former Beatles member Ringo Starr reminded everyone that "All You Need is Love" after cancelling a NC concert in opposition to the bill.

  • Vermont, Washington, and New York have all issued travel bans on Mississippi.

  • Additionally, a similar law was vetoed in Georgia after experiencing extreme backlash from a number of companies, including the NFL. 

While the pressure from prominent voices in opposition to the legislation has forced North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (who signed the bill into effect) to sign an executive order which expands state-employee protections for the LGBTQ community, the law remains just as discriminatory and disheartening as before. It harms not only the local and global LGBTQ community, but the economy and tourist industries of the region as well. Hopefully, the criticisms of the legislation from organizations like Apple and Google, combined with the voices of the people, will continue to have a transformative effect working towards the destruction of the bill, but only time will tell.

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