On Wednesday, March 23rd, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill (HB) 2 into law just hours after passage out of the General Assembly, overturning anti-discrimination protections at the local level.
In seeking to block a local ordinance passed in Charlotte in February expanding existing prohibitions on businesses discriminating against customers based on race, age, religion, and gender, to include gay, lesbian, and transgender as well as creating transgender accommodation for bathroom use, the state legislature called a special session specifically to pass HB 2.
The law not only prevents local governments from writing ordinances that allow people to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, it also preempts cities from passing their own nondiscrimination standards and minimum wage laws. Additionally, local school districts would be barred from allowing transgender students to use bathrooms or locker rooms that don’t correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate.
North Carolina joins two other states with laws preempting local-nondiscrimination provisions, Tennessee and Arkansas, and is the first to enact a law mandating students use bathrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. In February, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed a similar bill passed by the South Dakota legislature.