North Carolina just passed a bill allowing state-wide discrimination based on “religious freedom.” The bill was designed specifically to negate protections of LGBT citizens from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. And it is already being called one of the worst anti-LGBT bills in the nation.
Now that gay marriage is legal nationwide, Republicans seem to be determined to take out their frustrations on the LGBT community. They have dug their heels in and have decided that no matter what they will continue their tradition of hatred and homophobia. And now that the Supreme Court has come down against them, they have shifted their strategy to discrimination through “religious freedom.”
North Carolina is the latest state to pass a bill designed for the sole purpose of discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation.
On Wednesday North Carolina Republicans held an emergency session to introduce a bill that would literally supersede every other nondiscrimination law in the state. This new bill was basically written because the city of Charlotte had a nondiscrimination ordinance that would protect people in housing and public accommodations which was set to take effect on April 1. House Bill 2‘s purpose was to override that ordinance and any other within the state of North Carolina.
According to BuzzFeed,
“House Bill 2 mandates that state law supersedes all local ordinances concerning wages, employment, and public accommodations—thereby negating and blocking local policies designed to protect people from discrimination. It would also mandate that single-sex public restrooms and locker rooms in publicly run facilities be restricted to people of the same corresponding birth sex.
Further, it would ban transgender students from school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity—teeing up a potential legal clash with the federal government, which says civil rights laws ban transgender discrimination in schools.”
Christian Conservatives who pushed for this bill insist that it is necessary because transgenders using the opposite sex bathrooms and locker rooms are preying upon children. But echoing this favorite neo-Con talking point doesn’t make true.
In fact in the 17 states and over 225 cities that have nondiscrimination LGBT laws, there is not a single documented case of these laws being used to promote or defend predatory behavior in bathrooms or locker rooms.
The North Carolina bill was rushed through the House, passing with a 83-25 vote. It passed the Senate unanimously with a vote of 32-0. But that was only because the Democrats were so disgusted that every single one of them literally walked out. The entire bill was introduced and passed within 10 hours and is now awaiting Governor Pat McCrory’s signature.
State Senator Jeff Jackson wrote on Facebook,
“They are pushing this through as fast as possible. No one was allowed to see the bill until the committee met, then legislators were given 5 minutes to read it. It passed out of the committee and is now being debated on the House floor. It will almost certainly pass the House. Then it will be taken up in Senate committee, then to the Senate floor. All in one day.
If it becomes law, it means any business in the state can refuse service to any LGBT person – even by just posting a sign that says, “No Gays Allowed.” It is much broader than last year’s much-debated Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which at least required a “sincerely held religious belief” to refuse service. This includes no such requirement. Discriminate at will.
The press is just now waking up to the bait and switch that just occurred, which is why you haven’t heard much about this yet – but you will. This is going to be the broadest anti-LGBT legislation in the nation, and it will hurt our state deeply if it becomes law.”