On March 28, 2016, gay and transgender groups rallied together to challenge a new law instated last week by Republican Governor Pat McCroy. The new law, known as the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, prevents cities and counties in North Carolina from extending protections to cover sexual orientation and gender identity at places of business and schools. This further requires transgender individuals to use only those bathrooms that match their birth certificates. Supporters have stated that this bill would allow them to feel safer in public restrooms.
Two transgender people, a lesbian law professor at N.C. Central University and representatives from Lambda Legal and Equality NC filed a lawsuit in federal court stating that this new law would unfairly discriminate transgender individuals. They believe this new law violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution.
The groups fighting this new law may be referring to the Equal Protection Clause found in the Fourteenth Amendment in the United States Consitution. The Equal Protection Clause states that every state must not deny any person the “equal protection of the laws.”
Also, based on case law, Romer V. Evans (1996), the state of North Carolina did indeed violate this basic right for transgender individuals. The ruling in this landmark case in Colorado found that Amendment 2, the right to prevent any city, town, or county in Colorado from taking any federal action to recognize homosexuals as a protected class, was discriminatory and therefore, unconstitutional.
Hopefully with growing support from corporations and other states, this new law will be erased. – Nicole Rhim
If you need an attorney who will fight for your basic rights make sure to contact Edward Johnson today at 708.606.4386.
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