April 30th, 2016
The letter, sent just before the state legislature returned to session, inherently acknowledges what an economic disaster HB2 has been for the state as companies look to protect their employees and consumers from discrimination and harm. It also contains the worst of the lies and misinformation Senator Berger has been peddling over the last six weeks.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has taken the liberty of redlining Senator Berger’s letter with the truth and publishing it here.
Chad Griffin, HRC president said, “Sen. Berger is defending the indefensible. He knows HB2 is an unmitigated disaster that strikes at the basic rights and dignity of North Carolinians. In the face of so many business voices denouncing the bill and calling for its full repeal, Senator Berger is desperately digging in even further. He is lying about local laws and recycling dangerous myths about transgender people that have been soundly rejected by both the business community and fair-minded North Carolinians.”
Matt Hirschy, director of advancement, Equality NC, said, “It is disheartening to see Sen. Berger use the same misinformation that has dominated so much of the debate leading to the passing of the discriminatory House Bill 2. He appears to think that these executives, companies and their collective attorneys don’t fully understand the intention or focus of the bill when in fact they are very aware and worried. Furthermore, Senator Berger claims that ‘one of those narratives misstates the impact of the law’, yet he is quick to dismiss the countless people coming out against HB2 who are negatively affected by the bill. We urge the Senator to meet with the transgender North Carolinians who now fear for their safety and meet with the mothers whose children are being bullied at school because of this harmful law. We implore the Senator to really listen to his constituents, not just the ones that he is counting on at the polls in November.”
HRC have outlined below some major points to consider regarding claims in Berger’s letter and other communications from proponents of HB2:
Berger Claim: Charlotte’s ordinance mandated gender-neutral bathrooms FALSE Charlotte joined 18 states and more than 100 cities — including Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Louisville, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Dallas, and nearly every other major city in the country – by passing a non-discrimination ordinance. Nothing in the ordinance required a bathroom to be gender-neutral. Gov. McCrory’s repeated assertions that HB2 is about keeping men out of women’s restrooms is simply a lie. Transgender women are women, and should have access to women’s restrooms.
Berger Claim: Charlotte’s ordinance raised serious safety concerns FALSE This is a tired and entirely unfounded trope that opponents of equality have trotted out in jurisdictions across the country. Tens of millions of people in this country are covered by laws that prohibit discrimination in places of public accommodation on the basis of gender identity without problems. Law enforcement officials have spoken out against bills like HB2. Asserting that gender identity non-discrimination protections pose dangers is offensive. Transgender people should not and must not be conflated with sexual predators. Men who are sexual predators will not have increased access to restrooms — if they identify as men they’ll still be required to use the men’s room. Characterizing this law as a way to enable or protect sexual predators is ludicrous. Sexual predators engage in behavior that is, was, and always will be illegal — and this law doesn’t change that.
Berger Claim: HB2 allows reasonable North Carolinians to solve complicated issues without government interference FALSE HB2 is the very definition of government interference. Charlotte spent two years considering and vetting an ordinance; candidates ran for re-election on the promise of passing such an ordinance, and were voted into office by voters who wanted them to pass such an ordinance. They passed an ordinance similar to laws in 18 states. Sen. Berger and Gov. McCrory responded by hastily convening a special session in which the General Assembly took almost no testimony, considered the matter for less than 10 hours it was approved, and signed by the governor that same day.
Berger Claim: This law allows North Carolina businesses to adopt whatever workplace and accommodation policies they may choose PARTLY FALSE The Charlotte ordinance is primarily about places of public accommodation. Workplace policies were only implicated if an employer had or wanted to have a contract with the city of Charlotte. Invoking workplace policies is a red herring, Many businesses already have their own policies prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and the EEOC has determined that employers covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act have similar non-discrimination obligations under federal law. Some businesses that were covered by the ordinance in Charlotte are now free to discriminate in public accommodations if they so choose. However, HB2 now forces private businesses leasing property owned by the state, state agency, city, or other public agency — including the airports, convention centers, office space or otherwise – to discriminate in the provision of restroom facilities. Schools are also now required to discriminate against transgender students in the provision of facilities — a situation unprecedented in the country.
Berger Claim: Much of the opposition to House Bill 2 has rested on a false premise: namely, that a decision not expanding current law beyond protections existing in federal law and a majority of statements is an endorsement of discrimination ABSOLUTELY FALSE It continues to be clear that Sen. Berger, Gov. McCrory and Speaker Moore either don’t understand what this law does or are intentionally lying about it. HB2 does not restore the status quo. That is a lie. It is the first bill in American history to force transgender people to use a bathroom inconsistent with their gender identity. It is an unprecedented effort to write anti-transgender discrimination into law. HB2 is motivated by anti-LGBT animus, particularly toward transgender people. Writing anti-transgender discrimination into the law is an endorsement of discrimination. HB2 also embraces discrimination by removing from state law the cause of action for people who have experienced discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin and sex. HB2 is simply an endorsement of discrimination in every sense.
Excerpt from a long thoughtful editorial in the Burlington Times News on
April 15, 2016:
“We still believe a reasonable solution can be found that doesn’t mean high school kids of the opposite sex are taking showers together after gym class. We also think it’s common sense to have separate men’s and women’s restrooms. That’s how we do it here at the Times-News with one addition, there is a unisex bathroom available for anyone who wishes to use it.
“We also know that as strange and wrong as it may seem to some folks, there are men who live their lives as women, and women who live their lives as men, often without any change in sex organs. We suspect people have often occupied the same public restroom with someone who is transgender and didn’t even know it.
“There are women who — by use of hormones and other techniques — look exactly like a man with a beard. Same for men who are transgender. Public showers makes things more complicated, but bathrooms usually have privacy stalls. We are still trying to figure out where these restrooms are where folks are identifying other people’s genitals. There already are laws in place on indecent exposure.
“The simple fact is, transgender people have always used the restroom of the gender they live as. HB2 took what effectively was a don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy and turned it on its head, requiring someone who has female sex organs but looks like an NFL linebacker to use a women’s restroom. And a man who looks like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader is required to use the men’s room.”
For more, see: http://www.thetimesnews.com/opinion/20160414/editorial-sensible-discussion-solution-still-possible-on-hb2
UPDATES ON HB2
Few issues have mobilized the state, and even the nation, than North Carolina’s hastily crafted legislative action known as HB2. This action by the NC Legislature and immediately signed by Governor McCrory writes into state law discrimination against all our citizens, especially LGBTQIA citizens.
The session, which was abruptly convened by Republican lawmakers on March 23, came in response to an anti-discrimination ordinance approved by the state’s largest city, Charlotte, last month. That ordinance provided protections based on sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity, including letting transgender people use the public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Known popularly as the “Bathroom Bill,” this newly passed Legislation prevents N.C. cities, towns and counties from passing anti-discrimination rules beyond this new N.C. State standard. And N.C. public schools, public college campuses and government agencies must require bathrooms or locker rooms be designated for use only by people based on their biological sex as stated on their birth certificate.
Katie Couric’s “Now I Get It” video: Be sure to look at this short video
Dr. Leo Lambert, Resident of Elon University – click to see his letter
November 29, 2010
National PFLAG has adapted a piece by Mariana Caplan entitled When Holidays Are Hell…A Guide to Surviving Family Gatherings to help parents and siblings make the up-coming holidays really welcoming for visiting LGBT family members. It is reproduced below;
If you are the friend or family member of someone gay…
- Get support for yourself. It is important to realize you are not alone.
- Take your time. Acceptance may not come instantly, but be honest about yourfeelings.
- Don’t be nervous about using the “correct” language. Honesty and openness creates warmth, sincerity and a deeper bond in a relationship. If you are not sure what is appropriate, ask for help.
- Realize that the situation may be as difficult and awkward for your GLBT loved one as it is for you.
Before the visit…
- Practice in advance if you are going to be discussing your family member’s sexual orientation or gender identity with family and friends. If you are comfortable talking about it, your family and friends will probably be more comfortable too.
- Anticipate potential problems, but do not assume the reactions will always be what you expected.
- Consult with your GLBT loved one when coordinating sleeping arrangements if he or she is bringing home a partner.
- If your family member is transgender, practice using the correct pronouns.
During the visit…
- Treat a GLBT person like you would treat anyone else in your family.
- Take interest in your family member’s life. He or she is still the same person.
- Don’t ask your GLBT family member to act a certain way. Let them be their natural selves.
- If your GLBT family member is bringing a partner, acknowledge him or her as you would any other family member’s partner.
- If your GLBT family member is bringing a partner, include him or her in your family traditions.
- Ask your GLBT family member about his or her partner if you know they have one.
November 29, 2010
National PFLAG has compiled the following advice:
|Tips for a Happy Holiday for GLBT People|
If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender…
- Don’t assume you know how somebody will react to news of your sexual orientation or gender identity — you may be surprised.
- Realize that your family’s reaction to you may not be because you are GLBT. The hectic holiday pace may cause family members to act differently than they would under less stressful conditions.
- Remember that “coming out” is a continuous process. You may have to “come out” many times.
- Don’t wait for your family’s attitude to change to have a special holiday. Recognize that your parents need time to acknowledge and accept that they have a GLBT child. It took you time to come to terms with who you are; now it is your family’s turn.
- Let your family’s judgments be theirs to work on, as long as they are kind to you.
- If it is too difficult to be with your family, create your own holiday gathering with friends and loved ones.
- If you are transgender, be gentle with your family’s pronoun “slips.” Let them know you know how difficult it is.
- Make a decision about being “out” to each family member before you visit.If you are partnered,
Before the visit…
- Discuss in advance how you will talk about your relationship, or show affection with one another, if you plan to make the visit together.
- If you bring your partner home, don’t wait until late into the holiday evening to raise the issue of sleeping arrangements. Make plans in advance.
- Have alternate plans if the situation becomes difficult at home.
- Find out about local GLBT resources.
- If you do plan to “come out” to your family over the holidays, have support available, including PFLAG publications and the number of a local PFLAG chapter.
During the visit…
- Focus on common interests.
- Reassure family members that you are still the same person they have always known.
- If you are partnered, be sensitive to his or her needs as well as your own.
- Be wary of the possible desire to shock your family.
- Remember to affirm yourself.
- Realize that you don’t need your family’s approval.
- Connect with someone else who is GLBT—by phone or in person—who understands what you are going through and will affirm you along the way.
THE MOST RECENT SUIT AGAINST AMENDMENT ONE AND PRECEDING MARRIAGE RESTRICTIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA claims the following:
“By regulating who ministers can and cannot marry, and criminalizing them if their faith traditions skew from the law, the UCC claims that North Carolina’s marriage laws interfere with a minister’s rights to marry whomever they choose – as is their right within the denomination.”
Here is the complete story, exerpted from http://www.ucc.org/news/free-religion-lawsuit-legal-argument-05012014.html?utm_source=kyp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=kyp050614
UCC Church Sues State of North Carolina
Written by Anthony Moujaes
May 1, 2014
There are about 70 marriage equality cases moving through the judicial system in the United States, but the lawsuit brought by the representative body of the United Church of Christ is distinct. What makes the case unique is that the UCC is standing on the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, efforting to protect the rights of clergy and the principal of freedom of religion, a first in the wave of lawsuits across the country challenging laws regarding same-sex marriage.
“This isn’t just another one of the 69 cases bringing equal protection and due process challenges,” said Heather Kimmel, associate general counsel for the denomination.
In addition to the lawsuit, the UCC and other plaintiffs are asking the U.S. District Court to grant a preliminary injunction to temporarily stop North Carolina from enforcing the law before the case is heard. It would allow pastors in the state to perform the religious ceremonies they feel called to perform until the case is decided.
“In asking for the injunction, we are asking for the court to say the state cannot enforce these laws,” Kimmel said. The UCC is one of three groups of plaintiffs in General Synod of the UCC v. Cooper — a dozen North Carolina clergy from Christian, Jewish and Unitarian faiths, and LGBT couples wishing to marry are also part of the lawsuit.
Kimmel outlined some of the key claims raised by the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, April 28, and what the roadmap might look like for the case this summer. In the 29-page document, the UCC claims that North Carolina’s marriage laws violate the freedom of religion protections under the First Amendment, as well as the freedom of association that, according to the Supreme Court, is implied in the First Amendment.
The lawsuit names 11 defendants, which include North Carolina’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, and several register of deeds and district attorneys in the state.
“The defendants will have a chance to object to our motion for preliminary injunction, and the UCC will have an opportunity to reply to that objection,” Kimmel said.
The defendants have 15 days from the date of filing to file their objection to the preliminary injunction. The North Carolina attorney general has asked for a stay in another North Carolina lawsuit that challenges the marriage laws on equal protection and due process grounds. His argument for a stay is based on a legal challenge of Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage that will be argued in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes both Virginia and North Carolina. A U.S. District Court judge already ruled that Virginia’s ban is unconstitutional. If that decision is affirmed, the North Carolina court might apply that ruling to declare Amendment One unconstitutional. The Fourth Circuit could rule on the Virginia case by the end of the summer, but until then, attorneys for the plaintiffs would like an immediate injunction instead of waiting.
“We’re hopeful our judge will rule in favor of a preliminary injunction before the summer, and not stay the case,” Kimmel said. “But it is hard to speculate on how long before a judge will do anything.”
There are 33 states that limit marriage to one man and one woman, though lawsuits challenging marriage laws in nine of those states will be heard in U.S. appeals courts this year. North Carolina’s restrictions, however, went an extra step by threatening to criminalize clergy for performing weddings – legal or ceremonial – without a valid marriage certificate.
Amendment One, the name of North Carolina’s marriage law that voters passed in 2012, limits domestic legal unions to one man and one woman. Under state laws consistent with Amendment One, it is a misdemeanor for ministers to perform a marriage ceremony for a couple that has not obtained a license — which are not available to same-sex couples. Offenses are punishable by up to 120 days in jail and/or probation and community service.
In its argument, the UCC relies on two Supreme Court cases in particular to show that North Carolina’s marriage laws are unconstitutional.
In a recent case from 2012, the court ruled that governments may not interfere with an “internal church decision that affects the faith and mission of the church itself.” But by regulating who ministers can and cannot marry, and criminalizing them if their faith traditions skew from the law, the UCC claims that North Carolina’s marriage laws interfere with a minister’s rights to marry whomever they choose – as is their right within the denomination.
The Supreme Court also ruled that the First Amendment protects the “right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends,” and that governments may not infringe on that freedom through “intrusion into the internal structure or affairs of an association.” The case, Boy Scouts of Am. v. Dale in 2000, established that the Boys Scouts can legally exclude gay members through their right to associate.
“We’re using that anti-LGBT decision to say that our beliefs allow our clergy to perform same-sex marriage, but the North Carolina laws infringe on bringing people together for the purpose of celebrating those beliefs,” Kimmel explained.
For more information, visit ucc.org/ido.
The country’s leading gay rights groups and donors, after a decade focused on legalizing same-sex marriage, are embarking on a major drive to win more basic civil rights and workplace protections in Southern and Western states where the rapid progress of the movement has largely eluded millions of gay men and lesbians.
The effort will shift tens of millions of dollars in the next few years to what advocates described as the final frontier for gay rights: states like Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas and Texas, where Republicans dominate elected office and traditional cultural views on homosexuality still prevail.