Here It Comes: HB 2 Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court | News

Here It Comes: HB 2 Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court

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We told you this was coming: this morning, the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality NC announced that they had filed a lawsuit (at about 1:47 in the morning, according to ACLU legal director Chris Brooks) against the state of North Carolina, on the grounds that it violates both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

The lead plaintiff in the case, Joaquín Carcaño, is a twenty-seven-year old transgender Carrboro man. He is employed by the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Grey McGarry, a transgender twenty-year old student at UNC-Greensboro and NCCU Law associate dean and professor Angela Gilmore, a lesbian and lives with her wife in Durham.
Simone Bell of Lambda Legal, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2009-2015 as the first out African-American lesbian in a U.S. state legislature, speaks at a 3/28/16 press conference announcing the HB 2 federal lawsuit. - PAUL BLEST
  • Paul Blest
  • Simone Bell of Lambda Legal, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2009-2015 as the first out African-American lesbian in a U.S. state legislature, speaks at a 3/28/16 press conference announcing the HB 2 federal lawsuit.


"HB 2 is the most sweeping anti-LGBT bill in the nation," said Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro, "and it will not stand the test of time or federal court."

The lawsuit was filed in the Middle District of North Carolina, where all of the plaintiffs live. Two of the active judges in that district, including Chief Judge William Lindsay Osteen Jr., were appointed by George W. Bush, while the other two were appointed by Barack Obama. The two senior district judges were appointed by Reagan and Clinton.

Carcaño counted himself among the 41 percent of transgender people who have attempted suicide, and explained why overturning HB 2 was so necessary for his community, including the trans women he works with at UNC. 

"We will continue to exist despite bills like this trying to diminish our existence in public and private places," he said. "What we want you to understand is that we're only searching for a safe space in this world, and our home in North Carolina should be one of them." 

Brooks likened the legislature's action to that of Georgia, whose state legislature took weeks to debate similar legislation that was vetoed today by Governor Nathan Deal. He also compared the case to Romer v. Evans, a landmark 1996 Supreme Court case that overturned a Colorado constitutional amendment preventing local governments from taking "any judicial, legislative, or executive action designed to protect persons from discrimination based on their "homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships."

"The sweep of legislation was broader than that which was struck down in Romer v. Evans, and second, that was the 1990s," said Brooks. "It's twenty, twenty-five years later, and North Carolina is going to go revisit that well? That's pretty disappointing."


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