200 protest, learn about HB 2 in W-S

200 protest, learn about HB 2 in W-S
April 14
00:00 2016
Photo by Tevin Stinson
Criminal defense attorney David Freedman discusses a court case during a protest held at Green Street United Methodist Church on Monday, April 11



On the same day that hundreds gathered in the streets of Raleigh to show support for House Bill 2 (HB 2), about 200 residents gathered at Greene Street United Methodist Church on Monday evening to protest the state law, which overrules LGBT anti-discrimination measures passed by a local government.

Community members, clergy and others took to the stage to talk about the effects the law has on the LGBT community and the entire state.

Speakers also discussed ways to fight the bill. HB 2 was designed to prevent a Charlotte ordinance protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination and protecting trans-gender individuals’ ability to use the restroom of the gender they identify as. The bill which went into effect April 1 says individuals can only use public restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.

Parkway United Church of Christ minister Rev. Liam Hooper, who identifies as a transgender man, told the audience that the bill invited public enforcement and vigilantism, which puts his people in danger.

“This bill preys on and exploits the fears, misconception, and confusion of the general public. HB 2 is a piece of well-crafted deflection politics,” Hooper said.

Hooper noted the bill scapegoats transgender people in order to distract attention from the other instances of human rights violations.

While HB 2 has gotten nationwide attention for its effects on the LGBT community, Hooper said that the bill causes problems for other minority groups as well.

“If your skin is not white, and you don’t have white male privilege, you are targeted by this bill whether you are transgender or not,” he said.

The new law says there’s a state policy against discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, “biological sex,” or handicap, but prevents any civil action in state court based on that. Plaintiffs can still file in federal court, but must first go through an approval process that could last more than six months.

During the protest, Wake Forest University law professor Sidney Shapiro discussed the legal impacts of the law. Shapiro said HB2 may run afoul with federal law.

According to Shapiro, one of the country’s lead-ing experts in administrative procedure and regulatory policy, there are a number of statutes that protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual identity. He also mentioned that a lawsuit has been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claiming failure by the state to protect residents.

“These changes make North Carolina the most repressive state in the union,” he said. “While there are a number of lawsuits already filed against HB 2, citizen action is the best and quickest way to changing state policy.”

Criminal defense attorney David Freedman noted that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar law in 1996.

In the case Romer v. Evans, the court ruled that Amendment 2 of the Colorado State Constitution violated the equal protection clause. Records state Amendment 2 singled out homosexual and bisexual persons, imposing a broad disability by denying the right to seek and receive specific legal protection from discrimination.

Freedman said the ruling in Romer v. Evans can be used to persuade a federal court to overturn the law.

“HB 2 is a mistake, but I am confident that the Constitution will set us free,” Freedman said.

Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Pat McCrory asked the General Assembly to reinstate people’s right to sue in state court for discrimination. He also signed an executive order that expands employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors