LGBT legal groups threaten to sue North Carolina over anti-gay law

Thu. March 24, 2016 8:33 PM by Carlos Santoscoy

Legal groups on Thursday condemned passage of a bill in North Carolina that prohibits local municipalities from approving ordinances that protect the LGBT community.

Lawmakers on Wednesday called a one-day special session at a cost of $42,000 to respond to passage of such a law in Charlotte set to take effect on April 1. By the end of the day, Republican Governor Pat McCrory had signed House Bill 2 into law.

(Related: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signs bill blocking Charlotte's LGBT protections ordinance.)

House Bill 2 bars any city, town or municipality from enacting a similar measure and makes North Carolina the first state in the nation to prohibit students in public schools from using the bathroom that does not conform to their gender at birth. Similar attempts in South Dakota and Tennessee failed this legislative session.

Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina responded in a joint statement.

"Today was a devastating day for LGBT North Carolinians and particularly our transgender community members who have been subjected to months of distorted rhetoric culminating in today's display of bias and ignorance by North Carolina lawmakers. We are disappointed that Governor McCrory did not do right by North Carolina's families, communities, and businesses by vetoing this horribly discriminatory bill, but this will not be the last word," said Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. "The ACLU, Lambda Legal, and Equality NC are reviewing all options, including litigation."

Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, called the new law "outrageous" in a separate statement.

"It says a lot when the only thing certain politicians have to offer in the market place of ideas in the run-up to the general election are policies and laws based on hatred," Carey said. "Know that freedom, justice and equality in [North Carolina] has only been delayed but it will not be denied."

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine