Published: Sat, April 15, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

Bill would punish conferences for boycott of NC

Bill would punish conferences for boycott of NC

The Justice Department on Friday dropped its lawsuit accusing North Carolina of discrimination against transgender people following the state's repeal of its controversial "bathroom bill". This raises the question: why would the North Carolina government pass a law which, in essence, changes nothing?

California now joins Minnesota in sticking with their boycott of North Carolina despite the latter's watering down of its bill protecting women from possibly being forced to shared public locker rooms and restrooms with severely gender-confused men. But advocacy groups, who say the new law continues to discriminate against gay and transgender people, have vowed to continue with a separate federal lawsuit. It certainly does not do so explicitly, but courts might interpret the rule against discriminating due to biological sex to provide that protection. North Carolina was already among the states where California banned travel as result of HB2 in addition to Mississippi, Tennessee and Kansas. The law also prohibited local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said the new bill, HB142, "doubled-down on discrimination".

Esseks said his group planned to amend their lawsuit soon to challenge the new bill. "HB 142 was unconstitutional the moment it was enacted", Tara Borelli, a lawyer for LGBT civil rights organization Lambda Legal, told the AP.

Obama administration Attorney General Loretta Lynch filed the lawsuit against the original bathroom law in May 2016. If the bill is passed, the validity of same-sex marriages would not be recognized in North Carolina.

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All of those points and more will be debated by a conference committee composed of a few leaders each from the House and Senate. It also would impose a civil penalty between $1,000 and $1,500 on the local agency or campus for the first violation.

A number of businesses and sports leagues boycotted North Carolina because they saw the year-old law as discriminatory against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

While the language isn't an exact match, Simmons bill looks quite a bit like the revised bathroom law recently passed in North Carolina.

State Rep. Mark Brody, one of the sponsors of the new bill forcing North Carolina universities to leave a conference that boycotts the state, called the ACC's position during the House Bill 2 controversy "radical", according to the Charlotte Observer.

"The newly proposed HB 2899 is even worse than SB 6 because it invalidates all existing local non-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBTQ Texans and gives anti-LGBTQ state lawmakers full control over future LGBTQ local non-discrimination laws".

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