The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has scheduled oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging House Bill 2, North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, for Wednesday, May 10, in Richmond, Virginia.
H.B. 2 bans many transgender people from restrooms and other public facilities matching their gender and prohibits local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. On May 10, a three-judge panel will consider a request to block the anti-transgender provisions of the law barring transgender individuals from using restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender. In August 2016, a lower court blocked the University of North Carolina from enforcing those provisions against three transgender plaintiffs in the case.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal, which represent four LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina in the legal challenge, released the following joint statement:
“We look forward to being back in court to fight to ensure that all transgender people in North Carolina are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve and that is required by law. House Bill 2 represents an egregious attack on transgender people and their ability to participate in public life. While we continue to urge North Carolina legislators to repeal the law entirely, without still sanctioning discrimination, particularly against transgender people, we cannot wait for lawmakers to do the right thing. We will continue to fight for the rights of LGBT North Carolinians in court and beyond.”
Earlier today the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it is sending a landmark transgender rights case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., back to the Fourth Circuit to be reconsidered in light of the Departments of Justice and Education rescinding of a Title IX guidance clarifying protections for transgender students. While the May 10 hearing at the Fourth Circuit will not focus on Title IX but rather constitutional grounds under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the full lawsuit challenging H.B. 2 raises both Title IX and constitutional claims.
The ACLU and Lambda Legal lawsuit, Carcaño v. McCrory, was filed days after H.B. 2 was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by Governor Pat McCrory. In August 2016, a district court granted a request to stop the University of North Carolina from enforcing H.B. 2 against three transgender plaintiffs in the lawsuit. In granting the preliminary injunction, the court found that the challengers are likely to succeed in their argument that the law violates Title IX.
In the lawsuit, the groups argue that through the law, North Carolina sends a purposeful message that LGBT people are second-class citizens who are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded others in the state. Transgender individuals, in particular, are expelled from public life through H.B. 2’s mandate that they be forced out of restrooms and changing facilities that accord with who they are.
The complaint argues that H.B. 2 violates Title IX and Title VII by discriminating against students and school employees on the basis of sex. It also argues the law is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating on the basis of sex and sexual orientation and violates the privacy and medical decision making rights of transgender people.
To read more about the case: aclu.org/cases/carcano-et- al-v- mccrory-et- al