US Attorney General responds to NC's HB2 lawsuit in 2016
U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder will hear arguments on Aug. 1 on whether to block provisions of House Bill 2 while a lawsuit filed by six North Carolinians is pending in federal court.
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. in Winston-Salem in one of four cases challenging HB2.
The law, which was adopted in an emergency session of the General Assembly in March, requires transgender people to use restrooms on government property that correspond with the gender on their birth certificates, whether or not that is the gender with which they identify. The law also blocks local governments from passing nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people that are more sweeping than state law.
Three transgender residents of North Carolina, a lesbian law professor at N.C. Central University and a lesbian couple in Charlotte filed a lawsuit quickly after the law was adopted, claiming it violates the federal gender equity law. They have legal representation from the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and Jenner and Block law firm.
“Every day that House Bill 2 remains on the books, transgender North Carolinians suffer irreparable harm at work, in school, and in other public places, simply because they want to use public facilities safely just like everyone else but this hateful law prevents them from doing so,” the groups said in a joint statement. “We are glad our clients will finally have their day in court, and we hope that this discriminatory law’s days are numbered.”
Advocates of HB2 have described the law as one that promotes privacy and security.
The U.S. Justice Department sued North Carolina over the law, describing it as a violation of equal employment and gender equity laws. Earlier this month, attorneys representing the government made a similar request to Schroeder, asking him to block HB2 while the case pends.
The arguments before Schroeder in August could offer a glimpse of the larger debate to come as the cases move forward.
Schroeder said in his order scheduling the hearing that it might be more expeditious at some point to consolidate the lawsuits.