A U.S. court has approved a legal
settlement clarifying that North Carolina's so-called bathroom bill
does not prevent transgender people from using the bathroom of their
choice in state government buildings.
U.S. Judge Thomas Schroeder signed a
consent decree order stating that the wording in House Bill 142, the
law that replaced House Bill 2, does not prohibit transgender
individuals from using public restrooms in government buildings based
on their gender.
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) and Lambda Legal represents six plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
“After so many years of managing the
anxiety of HB 2 and fighting so hard, I am relieved that we finally
have a court order to protect transgender people from being punished
under these laws,” said Joaquin Carcaño, lead plaintiff in the
case. “This is a tremendous victory but not a complete one. While I
am glad that Governor Cooper agreed to this settlement, it remains
devastating to know that local protections for LGBTQ people are still
banned under state law while so many members of our community
continue to face violence, harassment, and discrimination simply
because of who we are. The fight for full justice will continue.”
Lawmakers approved House Bill 2 during
a one-day special session in 2016, The law blocked cities and
municipalities from enacting LGBT protections and prohibited
transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice in many
buildings. Passage of the law led to boycotts of the state.
Lawmakers repealed the law in 2017 and
replaced it with House Bill 142. The new law leaves bathroom
regulation to the state and enacts a moratorium on local LGBT
protections until December 1, 2020.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit said that the
replacement law was too vague.
“We are thrilled to obtain some
clarity and relief for transgender North Carolinians who have been
suffering under H.B. 2 and H.B. 142 for years,” said Irena Como,
acting legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “While this
part of the court fight may be ending, so much urgent work remains as
long as people who are LGBTQ are denied basic protections from
violence and discrimination simply because of who they are. The
shameful stain of House Bill 2 and the pain and harm it caused to so
many people will always be part of North Carolina’s history. LGBTQ
North Carolinians still lack comprehensive, statewide
nondiscrimination protections while on the job, patronizing a
business open to the public, or simply going about their daily