It seemed pretty straightforward when the city of Charlotte, N.C., approved an anti-discrimination ordinance prohibiting discrimination against LGBT Americans. But the response has been anything but simple.
As Rachel noted on the show on Friday, North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature was so outraged by the expansion of civil rights that it held a special, emergency session last week to pass something called H.B. 2, which, among other things, scrapped the policy approved by local Charlotte officials. Gov. Pat McCrory (R), as expected, signed the bill into law last week.
As of this morning, the fight is now headed to federal court. WRAL had this report out of Raleigh:
Gay-rights groups and others who say they’ll be wronged by North Carolina’s new law preventing Charlotte and other local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules are wasting little time trying to stop it in court.The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and Equality North Carolina scheduled a Monday news conference in Raleigh to announce federal litigation challenging the law, approved last week by the legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.
“By singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, H.B. 2 violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution,” the lawsuit argues.
BuzzFeed added that the complaint makes the case that the law “violates people’s equal protection, privacy, and liberty rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and their civil rights under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972.”
It’s worth emphasizing that the controversial North Carolina law goes beyond anti-LGBT discrimination and the abandonment of local control. TPM had a report that pointed to an additional wrinkle:
A section of the new law alters the state’s law that had allowed private sector employees to sue their employers under state law discrimination on the basis of of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap.“It takes away a right that people have had for 30 years,” Bill Rowe, the director of advocacy at the North Carolina Justice Center told TPM on Friday. “It’s a pretty big change that caught us all by surprise.”Due to differences between filing a suit in federal court, as opposed to state court, this change could discourage people from filing an employment discrimination claim, Rowe said. The statute of limitations for filing in federal court is much shorter, and the court filing fee is higher on the federal level as well. There are also fewer federal district courts in the state, making it less convenient for some workers to sue.
Complicating matters further, North Carolina may yet face economic consequences as a result of its new law. While the legal proceedings unfold, film director Rob Reiner has said he won’t produce projects in the state until the measure is repealed, and he urged others in the entertainment industry to follow his lead.
ESPN, which was eyeing North Carolina as a possible host of the summer X Games, may now look elsewhere, and the same is true for the NBA, which planned to hold the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, but which may now seek a new venue.