North Carolina LGBTQ residents may get some relief from both an executive order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper and a proposed settlement to lawsuit over the law that replaced the state's controversial HB 2 statute.
"Under H.B. 142, and with respect to public facilities that are subject to Executive Branch Defendants' control or supervision, transgender people are not prevented from the use of public facilities in accordance with their gender identity", read the settlement agreement, filed Wednesday. The law also made it more hard for local municipalities to enact antidiscrimination policies.
The move comes more than six months after the state Legislature voted to repeal House Bill 2, which required people in public and government buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificate.
"But it's not almost enough", she said, "especially when the state of North Carolina continues to sanction and promote anti-transgender discrimination under HB 142".
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"Today's executive order and consent decree are important steps toward fighting discrimination and enacting protections throughout state government and across our state".
The order has been met with a lukewarm response from gay rights advocates.
Social conservatives like the group NC Values Coalition denounced Cooper's recent actions, with Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald saying in a statement that the governor "has betrayed the people of North Carolina". "Governor Cooper and state lawmakers must show leadership on the real solution for North Carolina - statewide, LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections".
The order bans discrimination based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sex, pregnancy, religion, National Guard or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.
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There are some setbacks to the deal, however.
"HB 2 and HB 142 remain shameful and discriminatory attacks on LGBT people that should never have been signed into law, but under this proposed consent decree North Carolina would finally affirm the right of transgender people to use facilities that match their gender", added Karen Anderson, the executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, which helped negotiate the proposed settlement, along with Lambda Legal. But activists said transgender people still faced discrimination and threats to their safety under the new law.
"We are pleased to have reached a resolution with the governor that supports the right of transgender people to use facilities that match who they are", Bell said in a statement. Under the terms of a proposed consent decree, transgender people can use the public bathroom of their choice.
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