RALEIGH — On 9 February, Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) praised the introduction of companion bills in the North Carolina House and Senate to repeal HB2 and replace it with statewide, LGBTQ-inclusive, non-discrimination protections — the same commonsense protections that exist in 19 states and more than 100 cities across the country. The comprehensive legislation was introduced by Representatives Pricey Harrison, Deb Butler, Kelly Alexander, Susan Fisher and Senators Terry Van Duyn, Mike Woodard, and Jay Chaudhuri.
“My hometown of Greensboro has suffered enormously from economic losses because of HB2, and the potential economic harm from the NCAA pull-out for the next 6 years is even greater.” said Representative Pricey Harrison, one of the sponsors of the House legislation. “The bill introduced today is a clean repeal of HB2 and provides enhanced statewide non-discrimination protections. This bill reflects North Carolina values, unlike HB2. It is long overdue and we will work our hardest to enact this legislation.”
“HB2 denies equal protections to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” said Senator Terry Van Duyn, one of the sponsors of the Senate legislation. “It targets them, and excludes them from the same rights and assurances many of us take for granted. I cannot ignore the unfair and unequal persecution of some members of my community while enjoying protections that they don’t have. HB2 codifies the marginalization of people just because of who they are. That kind of discrimination is not only cruel, but it is bad for North Carolina and it is bad for business. It is time that we repeal HB2 and reaffirm that every citizen in North Carolina deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams and to be treated with equal respect. Then we can say North Carolina is truly open for business.”
“It’s a fact that every single day, HB2 has hurt our economy. It’s a fact, that lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and especially transgender people, like myself, are at direct risk for discrimination and even violence because of this awful law,” said Equality NC Director of Transgender Policy Ames Simmons. “Repealing HB2 is just the first step to fixing our state and making sure we are open for business. Our goal should not be mediocrity but excellence. We need fully inclusive, comprehensive non-discrimination protections. Senator Berger and House Speaker Moore must immediately repeal HB2, and enact common sense protections.”
“The economic fallout over HB2 continues to mount, and it’s far past time for lawmakers to take action by repealing and replacing this vile, reckless law,” said HRC Field Director Marty Rouse. “The only law in the nation that mandates discrimination against transgender people, HB2 is an unprecedented attack on LGBTQ North Carolinians and visitors to the state. By repealing it and replacing it with fully inclusive, commonsense non-discrimination protections, the state can finally begin to repair the incredible harm HB2 has caused.”
The comprehensive repeal and replace legislation introduced today comes after the North Carolina Sports Association sent a letter to lawmakers warning of a loss of NCAA championship games through 2022 if HB2 is not immediately repealed. In the letter, the North Carolina Sports Association warned lawmakers that the NCAA decision could cost the state at least another half a billion dollars in economic activity when other sports organizations follow the NCAA’s lead in moving events out of the state. In November 2016, Forbes estimated that the state had already lost hundreds of millions of dollars in business due to HB2.
In November, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory became the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on election day specifically because he championed and signed HB2 into law. North Carolina polling released by HRC and Equality NC found that HB2 was the number one issue leading to Governor Pat McCrory’s defeat — the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on election day. The survey found that 62 percent of voters opposed HB2, while only 30 percent supported the law. HB2 was also listed as the leading reason to vote against McCrory — with 57 percent citing the bill, 17 points above any other issue.
About the Human Rights Campaign:
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer North Carolinians. For more information, please visit www.equalitync.org