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Pat McCrory: We Should Gut The Civil Rights Act To Allow For Segregated Bathrooms

Responding in the wake of the Department of Justice’s counter-suit against North Carolina, NC Gov. says federal government should undo hallmark legislation of the 1960s.

download (1)This is how it starts.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is still refusing to admit that his “bathroom bill” – the law known formally as House Bill 2 (HB2) mandating transgender persons use the bathroom of their biological gender – is overtly and unlawfully prejudicial, even following Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s announcement that the bill was found to be in direct violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Speaking on CNN to host Jake Tapper Wednesday, McCrory accused Democrats of “starting a fight” over LGBT equality by passing an ordinance in the city of Charlotte which allowed, among other things, for transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

Last Wednesday, the Department of Justice officially notified McCrory and his administration that they had found HB2 to be direct violation of the aforementioned laws, giving them until Monday evening to confirm “that the State will not comply with or implement HB2,” threatening to withhold upwards of $800 million in annual federal education funding as collateral.

After originally disregarding the warning, McCrory announced Monday, his deadline to comply with the Department of Justice, that he would be suing the DOJ to have their notification overturned, which prompted an immediate counter-suit from Lynch.

Loretta Lynch announced Monday evening that the Department of Justice was filing a counter-suit against the state of North Carolina Credit: abc11.com
Loretta Lynch announced Monday evening that the Department of Justice was filing a counter-suit against the state of North Carolina
Credit: abc11.com

Yesterday, McCrory changed tactics by suggesting that if his bigoted law legalizing segregation was indeed violating the most comprehensive piece of civil rights legislation in American history, then it would be worthwhile to ‘revisit the Civil Rights Act’ itself so that HB2 could be implemented free of federal intrusion.

“I think that this was an argument that we didn’t need to have,” opined McCrory, “But this is an agenda by the far left. And for some reason, the national media is saying the far right brought this up.  The Justice Department is basically making a civil rights claim that every private sector employer in the U.S. and every university in the United States must have gender expression or gender identity bathroom choices for individuals.”

“What are you telling the teachers at schools in North Carolina,” Tapper countered, “where, say, a 12-year-old who identifies as a girl, though her birth certificate says boy, what do you tell teachers about her if she’s using the girl’s bathroom?”

As McCrory continued to deflect Tapper’s line of questioning, lamenting his “concern for the other kids” and the “expectation of privacy,” he then moved to suggest that if the Justice Department was going to get involved, it was time for Congress to rewrite their jurisdiction.

“I think there’s a time where the Republicans and the Democrats in this Congress need to revisit the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and revisit this issue,” he said, “Because these are complex issues and North
Carolina for whatever reason politically has become the target by the left on this agenda.”

Watch the full video below:

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory Signs Executive Order To Soften Anti-LGBT Law HB2, Accomplishes Nothing

In a press release Tuesday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said that he has signed a new executive order to protect workers from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The governor also released a video statement on Executive Order 93.

The executive order comes on the same day Deutsche Bank stated it would not be expanding its Cary, N.C. operation with 250 new jobs because of concerns over the anti-LGBT law McCrory signed in March, HB2.

“After listening to people’s feedback for the past several weeks on this issue, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, a lot of passion and frankly, selective outrage and hypocrisy, especially against the great state of North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory in the video statement. “Based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality.”

But does the executive action bring the state closer to equality for all?

The mayor of Charlotte tweeted that she was looking forward to more dialogue with McCrory and that she was “pleased to see movement” from the governor’s office.

Yet, of the five points in Executive Action 93, four of them either affirm existing legislation or are symbolic gestures that would do little in practice, while the fifth corrects a flaw in HB2 but doesn’t offer any protections for LGBT people.

Perhaps most importantly, the executive action does nothing to address the ban on transgender people from using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

The executive action has not given municipalities the right to enact anti-discrimination policies, a right which was stripped by HB2.

“This bill essentially ties a noose around the necks of the cities and counties,” said N.C. Senate Democrat Dan Blue, “and it smothers their ability to govern in a way that their citizens think they ought to.”

Municipalities are still stripped of their ability to offer protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation, or any other characteristic aside from those designated by HB2

From the first point in Governor McCrory’s executive action, employees of the state government and children in public schools are subject to the governor’s “common sense” declaration that restrooms and locker rooms may only be used if they correspond with a person’s sex as determined at birth, as mandated by HB2.  The governor has doubled-down on on this highly-discriminatory point.

The second and third points, which reaffirm the private sector’s right to make decisions about bathrooms and create non-discrimination employment policies, are completely symbolic.  The rights of the private sector to create bathroom rules for their employees and grant them protections against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation were never threatened by HB2.

“Under current law, every multiple occupancy restroom, locker room or shower facility located in a cabinet agency must be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex,” the Executive Order states. “Agencies may make reasonable accommodations upon a person’s request due to special circumstances.”

The governor’s fourth point looks promising for extending LGBT protections to state employees.  They would, however, continue to be subject to the state’s discriminatory bathroom policies because they work in government buildings, which, the governor reaffirmed in his first point, would require transgender people to use bathrooms in conflict with their gender identities.  The governor has not addressed this inconsistency.

The fifth point in the ordinance does fix a highly disturbing component of HB2–the ban on state discrimination lawsuits.  Before HB2 was passed, people who allege they were discriminated against based on  “race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap” could sue in state or federal court.

After HB2 was passed, all discrimination complaints would be handled by the state Human Relations Commission and nobody could sue someone for discrimination in state court.  This would be ineffective, Democrats pointed out in debates over HB2, because Republican gutted the commission’s budget in 2015.  Under an different state law, disabled people would still be able to sue.

Lawyers who handle employment discrimination lawsuits said the change was a blow to those discriminated against in the workplace because it is cheaper and easier to sue in state court and the period during which lawsuits can be filed in state court is longer than in federal court. A state lawsuit can be filed at a county courthouse while federal cases are heard in a much smaller number of federal courthouses around the state, a potential barrier for people who live in more remote areas.


Unfortunately, with the state still not offering protections for LGBT people (aside from LGBT state-employees, confusingly), state discrimination lawsuits would not help them all.

In a statement by the NC chapter of the ACLU, the organization called the executive action inadequate.

“Gov. McCrory’s actions today are a poor effort to save face after his sweeping attacks on the LGBT community, and they fall far short of correcting the damage done when he signed into law the harmful House Bill 2, which stigmatizes and mandates discrimination against gay and transgender people,” said Sarah Preston, acting executive director, in a statement. “With this executive order, LGBT individuals still lack legal protections from discrimination, and transgender people are still explicitly targeted by being forced to use the wrong restroom.

Whether Executive Order 93 will halt the exodus of big business from North Carolina or prevent the NBA from moving its 2017 All Star game out of Charlotte is anyone’s guess.

Gov. Pat McCrory Calls NY Ban On State Travel To NC “Political Theater”

FILE- In this Sept. 10, 2014, file photo, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks to members of the media in Raleigh, N.C. In a letter dated Oct. 6 to French officials, McCrory said the plain packaging proposal may detract from more effective ways of curbing cigarette use. The French bill requiring neutral cigarette packs by 2016 is slated for debate in French Parliament next year. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks to members of the media in Raleigh, N.C. .(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

After a long holiday weekend, advocacy groups working against anti-LGBT legislatures, including the ACLU and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo began action against North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory for signing a ban on anti-discriminatory legislation into law.

On Monday, Governor Cuomo released a statement and executive order banning non-essential travel to N.C. “In New York,” Cuomo said, “we believe that all people – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – deserve the same rights and protections under the law.”

Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco had already banned city employees from traveling to N.C. on public business.

In an interview with NBC News, McCrory dismissed the criticism of civil liberties and anti-discrimination groups, as well as Cuomo’s condemnation of the N.C. law as a “political theater” and said that he would not back down from blocking Charlotte from protecting LGBT individuals.

According to McCrory, the actions against his state are “concocted by left-wing activists,” who are part of a “calculated smear campaign” to find business leaders to oppose him.

The North Carolina ACLU and other advocacy groups have filed a civil lawsuit against McCrory, N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper III, the University of North Carolina and its leaders on behalf of three plaintiffs who are LBGT state employees.

“This cruel, insulting, and unconstitutional law is an attack on fairness in employment, education, and local governance that encourages discrimination against thousands of LGBT people who call North Carolina home, and particularly targets transgender men and women,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina.


HB 2, the legislation that passed both chambers of the N.C. General Assembly in nine hours on Wednesday, March 23 before receiving McCrory’s signature, was designed to take power away from municipalities like the state’s largest city Charlotte, which had passed an ordinance allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Going against the typical GOP modus operandi of taking power from the federal or state government to allow for restrictive, discriminatory politics on local levels, the Democratic mayor of Charlotte, Jennifer Roberts crossed a line with them, McCrory said a month ago.

McCrory has defended his stance as a “voice of reason” at a time when “political correctness has gone amok.”

McCrory said he was fighting for people’s privacy, and against any government entity telling businesses how they should implement bathroom policies.

“Would you want a man to walk into your daughter’s shower and legally be able to do that because mentally they think they are of the other gender?” he said. “I happen to disagree with that, but I’ll allow business to make that decision themselves.”

Speaking to gay-rights and civil-rights coalition leaders, McCrory repeatedly argued for a “common sense” approach to norms in bathroom etiquette.

One of the plaintiffs in the ACLU suit, Joaquin Carcano, 27, told the press that he is worried about how his masculine appearance will effect women in women’s rooms.  He has, until now, used men’s bathrooms.

Asked about Carcano’s situation, McCrory responded: “You know, we all have to make adjustments in life. And we’ve had the proper etiquette situation for decades in our country, and all of a sudden through political correctness we’re throwing away basic etiquette.”

Later, McCrory added: “I empathize with these people who have some very unique needs. But at the same time it doesn’t mean everyone else should have to compromise a well established etiquette of men in men’s restrooms and showers and locker rooms.”

McCrory, a Republican who is up for reelection, called the public’s understanding of the bill a “distortion” in a statement by his campaign, criticizing the media for not reacting as Charlotte defeated a similar anti-discrimination bill a year ago.

Since HB 2 was signed into law last week, large corporations such as IBM and Dow Chemical have publicly opposed McCrory’s actions and have stated their opposition to doing business within the state.  Major companies operating in N.C. such as American Airlines, Paypal, Biogen, and others followed suit.

Additionally, major sports organizations have spoken out, with the NCAA–where the University of North Carolina is currently a championship contender in the Final Four–stating it, “would monitor the case in deciding where to hold future basketball tournament games.”  Meanwhile the NBA said that this law could influence wither or not it will hold its All-Star Game in Charlotte next year.

A new Twitter Account @BoycottNC has emerged which calls for businesses and consumers to take a stand against anti-LGBT policy in N.C. Using the hashtag, #WeAreNotThis, the group’s message has been trending.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper came out strongly against the backlash, saying that he won’t defend HB 2 in court should it reach that level.


North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory: There Will Be Retaliation If City Of Charlotte Approves LGBT Protections

North Carolina is one of the few remaining states WITHOUT a collection of anti-LGBT bills set to vote, but that may soon regrettably change.

Governor Pat McCrory (R) has told two councilman from Charlotte that he will eagerly push through legislation banning bathroom access for transgender people if a nondiscrimination law that was previously defeated by Charlotte’s City Council is overturned.

Echoing sentiments that defeated Houston’s LGBT protections last fall, McCrory warned in an email that “changing basic restroom and locker room norms” will somehow put women and children at risk, despite being able to articulate what those risks actually would be.

McCrory Via Think Progress:

“This shift in policy could also create major public safety issues by putting citizens in possible danger from deviant actions by individuals taking improper advantage of a bad policy. Also, this action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate State legislative intervention which I would support as governor.”

As Think Progress notes, several other cities and counties in North Carolina already offer at some form of employment protection based on gender identity, and additionally the University of North Carolina system also protects gender identity in employment and admission, this similarly extends to trans-peoples use of restrooms.

The original vote was narrowly defeated 6-5, and it is rumored that at least 8 of the 11 council members are prepared to support it.



DOJ Officially Notifies McCrory: “Bathroom Bill” Violates Civil Rights Act

Department giving officials until Monday to address “the situation”

download (1)U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) officials notified Governor Pat McCrory earlier today to officially inform him that House Bill 2 – more commonly referred to as the “Bathroom Bill” – violates the U. S. Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In their notification, the Department made clear that it was giving state officials a stay of execution until Monday to address the situation publicly “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”

The bill, which McCrory publicly acknowledged was passed in “retaliation” to approved LGBT protections in Charlotte, drew nationwide condemnation as it not only set in place legalized segregation for LGBT members – most notably the clause stipulating that transgender persons use the bathroom assigned to their “biological gender” – but also effectively made it illegal for individual cities and local ordinances to outlaw discrimination within their own jurisdictions.

After several multinational companies came forward threatening to cripple their operational expansions in the state, the Governor signed an Executive Order marginally softening the bill, but many of the key pieces of discriminatory policy were left intact.

Cue the Obama administration putting North Carolina on official notice.

In the letter, the DOJ says that McCrory and the State are “engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees and both, you, in your official capacity, and the State are engaging in a pattern of practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of Title VII rights by transgender employees of public agencies.”

It states further that HB2 violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination in education based on sex.

As first reported by the Charlotte Observer, North Carolina stands to lose upwards of $800 million in federal funding if they choose not to comply with the DOJ.

“Access to sex-segregated restrooms and other workplace facilities consistent with gender identity is a term, condition, or privilege of employment. Denying such access to transgender individuals, whose gender identity is different from their gender assigned at birth, while affording it to similarly situated non-transgender employees, violates Title VII.”

This is story is developing and will updated to include the Governor’s response once it is made official.

Texas Next For Bathroom Bill? Gov. Abbott Poised To Take Law To Lone Star State

Conservative governor tells GOP delegates “Obama is turning bathrooms into courtrooms issues. I want you to know, I am working with the governor of North Carolina, and we are going to fight back.”


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Protesters demonstrate against “Bathroom Bill” in North Carolina Photograph: Chuck Liddy/AP

On International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had something peculiar to say to his citizenry and the Twittersphere at large.

The crass tweet came nearly in concurrence with President Obama issuing a statement marking the event by “reaffirming the dignity and inherent worth of all people, regardless of who they love or their gender identity.”

 A sign marking a gender-neutral restroom. Photograph: Toby Talbot/AP
A sign marking a gender-neutral restroom. Photograph: Toby Talbot/AP

The brief, but strongly worded commitment from the White House comes on the heels of the Department of Justice (DOJ) notifying Gov. Pat McCrory that his “Bathroom Bill” – which mandates transgender people use the bathroom of their biological gender – was found to be in direct violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Lawsuits and counter-suits have been filed by the State of North Carolina and the DOJ, respectively, but the Obama Administration has made it clear that they intend to advance equal rights for the LGBT community to the fullest extent possible throughout their final eight months in office.

It would appear as though Texas may likely be their next target, as state officials have signaled that they will put themselves at the forefront of the federal government’s strong commitment to transgender rights.

“Obama is turning bathrooms into courtroom issues,” Abbott told GOP delegates last week at the Texas state convention in Dallas, “I want you to know, I am working with the governor of North Carolina, and we are going to fight back.”

A 32-page platform adopted at the convention would seem corroborate this pledge, giving a strong indication that lawmakers intend on passing a bill similar to North Carolina’s when the legislature reconvenes in January.

“We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individuals’ use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex,” reads the platform, adding that the Texas Republican Party opposes “all policies and curriculum that teach alternate lifestyles including homosexuality, transgender and other non-traditional lifestyles as normal.”

Additionally, it calls on Abbott to overturn the Supreme Court’s historic Obergefell v Hodges ruling from last summer – which legalized gay marriage in all 50 states –  despite being unclear on how state government could constitutionally supersede the highest court in the land, along with maintaining support for the widely deplored practice of “conversion therapy” for LGBT people.

As the Obama administration in their notification implied their intention to withhold upwards of $800 million in annual education funding to North Carolina, Texas lawmakers are already planning to address these potential losses.

 Dan Patrick, the Texas lieutenant governor, said the state is willing to forfeit potentially billions of dollars in federal funding rather than institute the government’s policy. Photograph: LM Otero/AP
Dan Patrick, the Texas lieutenant governor, is willing to forfeit potentially billions of dollars in federal funding rather than institute the government’s policy. Photograph: LM Otero/AP

Dan Patrick, the Texas lieutenant governor who recently made headlines by claiming states were being “blackmailed” by the president, said the state is willing to forfeit potentially “billions of dollars” in federal funding that provides free meals for underprivileged schoolchildren rather than adhere to the federal government’s warning.

“Well, in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver. We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States,” Patrick told reporters. Last week, the combative politician urged a Fort Worth schools superintendent to resign for backing a transgender student bathroom policy, and on his Facebook page Tuesday, deemed LGBT rights in Texas a “modern day ‘come and take it’ moment in Texas.”

A similar proposal from the mayor of Rockwall, TX, failed to pass last month after a heated debate.

“This is purely a security issue to me,” wrote mayor Jim Pruett in an editorial for the Dallas Morning News, “These businesses are allowing men unrestricted access to women’s restrooms or changing rooms based solely on their representation that they are more comfortable using the facilities for the opposite sex.”

An additional victory was scored for conservatives in Houston last year when a campaign rooted in fear successfully persuaded Houston voters to reject a wide-ranging anti-discrimination ordinance inherently similar to the measure Charlotte passed provoking HB2.

It remains to be seen how far the standoff will go, and how many other conservative states will join, but this much remains clear: November’s election has the potential to undo significant social progress for LGBT rights and equality nationwide.

North Carolina Refuses To Back Down From Bathroom Bill, Announces Lawsuit Against Federal Government

Files suit in response to the Justice Department’s notification that HB2 violates Civil Rights Act, Title IX

A bathroom sign welcomes both genders REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo
A bathroom sign welcomes both genders REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo

Responding to an official letter from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) notifying North Carolina that House Bill 2 (HB2), more commonly known as the “Bathroom Bill,” was in direct violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, lawmakers on behalf of GOP Governor Pat McCrory announced Monday morning that they would be suing the DOJ to rightfully defend HB2.

In their notification Wednesday, the DOJ specifically gave the state until Monday to respond to its notification publicly “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2,” or potentially face the consequences of losing upwards of $800 million in federal education funding annually.

It seems as though the GOP-controlled legislatures are prepared to take this chance with their stunning announcement Monday morning.

“The department contends that North Carolina’s common sense privacy policy constitutes a pattern or practice of discriminating against transgender employees in the terms and conditions of their employment because it does not give employees an unfettered right to use the bathroom or changing facility of their choice based on gender identity,”  the lawsuit stated, “The department’s position is a baseless and blatant overreach.”

Previously, it was announced Thursday by House Speaker Tim Moore that no action would be taken on Monday, essentially daring the DOJ to escalate towards action.

“We will take no action by Monday,” Moore said, “That deadline will come and go. We don’t ever want to lose any money, but we’re not going to get bullied by the Obama administration to take action prior to Monday’s date. That’s not how this works.”

McCrory, too, said Sunday that he had asked federal officials to push back its “unrealistic” deadline but said he was told that he would only get an extension if he made a public statement denouncing HB2 as discriminatory.

“I’m not going to publicly announce that something discriminates, which is agreeing with their letter, because we’re really talking about a letter in which they’re trying to define gender identity,” McCrory said in an interview Sunday, “And there is no clear identification or definition of gender identity. It’s the federal government being a bully.”

The Justice Department has not publicly responded since the lawsuit was announced.

North Carolina Republican Lawmakers Say DOJ Can’t Bully Them Into Repealing Bathroom Bill

Top GOP leaders say they aren’t phased by DOJ’s threat to pull upwards of $800 million annually in federal funding

House Speaker Tim Moore Credit: Charlotte News and Observer
House Speaker Tim Moore
Credit: Charlotte News and Observer

State GOP leaders in North Carolina said Thursday that they are refusing to back down from the now infamous HB2 (more commonly referred to as the “Bathroom Bill”), a law regulating which restrooms can be used by transgender persons and subsequently prohibits individual cities or local governments from passing their own legislation protecting the rights of LGBT members.

The statement comes in response to the Department of Justice (DOJ) officially notifying Republican Governor Pat McCrory on their findings that HB2 directly violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, giving the embattled Governor and the GOP-controlled legislature until Monday to address the situation publicly “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”

In addition to their findings, the Justice Department noted that the state stood to potentially lose upwards of $800 million in federal education funding annually, since the landmark legislation specifically bans employment discrimination and discrimination in education based on sex and gender orientation.

At the moment, it appears the North Carolina legislature is unmoved.

“We will take no action by Monday,” House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday afternoon, “That deadline will come and go. We don’t ever want to lose any money, but we’re not going to get bullied by the Obama administration to take action prior to Monday’s date. That’s not how this works.”

Moore added further that state leaders are trying to determine the next steps, saying “Right now we’re talking with our attorneys to see what our options are. We’re going to move at the speed that we’re going to move at to look at what our options are.”

House Democrats and civil rights advocates see things differently, noting the swiftness the law was originally passed under, and the hypocrisy that it simply cannot be repealed under the same timeline.

“HB2 became law in less than 12 hours,” said Democratic Rep. Cecil Brockman, “Five days should be more than enough time to decide how to clean up after it.”

The Justice Department’s challenge and intended threat of pulling resources has no historical precedent; however, the agency has increasingly intervened on behalf of transgender individuals alleging discrimination.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory defending HB2 Credit: Charlotte Observer
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory defending HB2
Credit: Charlotte Observer

While McCrory continues to affirm his support for the bill, calling it a “very common-sense rule” before a group of business leaders Wednesday evening following the official notification from the DOJ, he also admitted that he did not know if the state would ultimately fight the Justice Department.

In a confusing twist, Senate President Phil Berger attempted to connect the DOJ’s notification with the 2016 election cycle and grassroots politicking.

“This might be part of what you’re seeing with both the Bernie Sanders and the Trump pushes,” he said in reference to presidential candidates who have radically differing opinions on LGBT rights, “People are angry, and one of the reasons they’re angry is because of the failure – particularly of the federal government – to do the things that the people know need to be done, and yet they go off on a tangent like this and push radical social engineering.”

Perhaps the most sickening response to the DOJ’s notification unsurprisingly came from the Christian Action League of North Carolina, an evangelical state group and primary backers of HB2.

“At the hands of his henchmen in the U.S. Department of Justice, King Obama has delivered his message of intimidation to the state of North Carolina,” executive director Mark Creech said Thursday on Facebook, “The Great Pontiff of Political Correctness holds the educational futures of our state’s children hostage, while dangling the money bags of federal funds over their heads, demanding in exchange North Carolina bow to the madness of obliterating male and female distinctives.”

It is suspected that the DOJ will be issuing similar notifications to Mississippi, where similarly draconian legislation was introduced enabling blatant discrimination of LGBT persons.

Part-Time Governor Chris Christie Vetoes Equal Pay Bill, Calls It “Business Unfriendly”

Bipartisan bill which passed overwhelmingly would have banned employers from paying women less for “substantially similar” work as men.

Credit: Think Progress
Credit: Think Progress

New Jersey lawmakers on both sides of the aisle took an important step forward earlier this year towards creating a more equitable workplace, requiring employers to pay women the same as men for equal work.  Governor Chris Christie, taking a brief break from his chief cheerleader position inside the Trump campaign, apparently felt the protective measures went to far in its insistence for equal pay, vetoing the bill in its entirety Monday afternoon.

The bill, S992, passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of the state’s legislature (28-4 and 54-14-6, respectively) and sought to ban employers from paying women less for “substantially similar” work as men, allowing only for differing pay rates between genders if employers could transparently prove it was based on education, experience, performance, and prior qualifications.  The similarity of the work between identical or closely related job titles would have been based on required responsibilities, workflow, and mandatory skills.

In his official statement rejecting the bill, Christie noted his prior support for equal pay protections but said there is no reason for state legislation “to go beyond the Lilly Ledbetter Act,” the federal equal pay legislation signed by President Obama in 2009.

While that feels like a logical summation – especially to somebody like Chris Christie who has undoubtedly never experienced wage discrimination –  it nonetheless seeks to pivot away from the paramount realities that women still face in the workplace.  Wage discrimination still DOES exist despite the passing of the aforementioned act which, despite its monumental push forward in the fight for equal pay still has many acknowledged shortcomings.  So rationalizing a state bill that would seek to go further – and potentially push the country along in the process – feels akin to to state lawmakers (Pat McCrory) rejecting legislation that would protect LGBT persons from discrimination on the basis of SCOTUS historic Obergefell ruling.

To be clear: The comparison between Pat McCrory/Charlotte/HB2 is not entirely accurate in relation to Chris Christie/Lilly Ledbetter/S992, however it nonetheless illustrates a common reaction among GOP policymakers as it pertains to equal rights: We have laws in place already, and if even if they aren’t working properly, there is no point in trying to improve them.

Most equal pay laws in different states require the same pay for the exact same work. S992, however, sought to go much farther, reaching beyond the same job titles to require women be paid equally if they’re accomplishing the same tasks in a different role. The reasoning behind this additional legislation is that studies have shown that when women enter a particular job, the pay drops because their work is valued less, even if it’s the same work being performed by men concurrently.

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RICH PEDRONCELLI California State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D) after her wage equality bill passed the Senate
California State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D) after her wage equality bill passed the Senate

The provisions required in this particular area of the proposed legislation is formally known as “pay equity assessments,” and California passed a law last year that is nearly identical.

It was this particular piece of the bill that Christie issued his forceful objection.

“This is nonsensical and makes New Jersey very business unfriendly,” Christie said, “While I support an explicit prohibition on wage discrimination on the basis of gender, I recognize that that identification of unlawful wage discrimination requires an intensive fact-based evaluation of the workplace and positions. This bill eliminates that requirement. That is wrong.”

The public statement marks a noted departure from rhetoric he previously displayed in his presidential campaign, where in an appeal to broaden the GOP’s female coalitions he talked about fair pay and harassment in the workplace being key foundations of his policy platform, saying he owed his beliefs to the “strong women in my life.”

Currently, women in New Jersey make 80 percent of what men make on average in identical roles or identical tasks.

His vetoing of S992 is his latest rejection – but by no means the first – in the fight for equal pay, most notably a bill which would have required government contractors to report compensation information. At the time, he called the bill “senseless bureaucracy.”

War On The Poor and People Of Color: Federal Judge Upholds Controversial Voter ID Law In North Carolina

A new era of voter suppression post-Voting Rights Act.

Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the bill scaling back voter access provisions, praised the ruling in a statement. Credit Gerry Broome/Associated Press
Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the bill scaling back voter access provisions, praised the ruling in a statement. Credit Gerry Broome/Associated Press

A federal judge on Monday afternoon upheld systemic GOP-passed changes to voter eligibility in North Carolina elections, including an enormously controversial voter identification provision that civil rights groups insist unfairly targets black Americans, minority populations, and economically disparaged demographics statewide.

It is believed that the ruling will likely have serious repercussions politically in a state highly contested in the previous two national elections.

“North Carolina has provided legitimate state interests for its voter ID requirement and electoral system,” Judge Thomas D. Schroeder of Federal District Court in Winston Salem wrote in his 485-page opinion, adding that he did not find North Carolina’s system beyond “the mainstream of other states.”

The law in question appeals a provision allowing citizens to register and vote on the same day, along with reducing the early-voting period by seven days, and the end of preregistration (which allows voters to sign up before their 18th birthdays, something teenagers in Ohio fought hard to obtain).

Most controversially, it leaves intact North Carolina’s voter identification requirement, which legislators had momentarily softened last year.

GOP Governor Pat McCrory predictably praised the ruling in an official statement saying, “this ruling further affirms that requiring a photo ID in order to vote is not only common sense, it’s constitutional.”

While civil rights advocates have already said they will appeal the decision to the United States Court of Appeals of the Fourth Circuit, located in Richmond, VA, the timing of the ruling in conjunction with November’s elections is problematic; if the Fourth Circuit or the Supreme Court does not intervene, the changes will be in force when voters go to the polls this fall.

North Carolina voters will also be electing a governor in what is expected to be a highly competitive race.

The added weight of the legal precedent set makes this decision even more troubling, as it could be an early foreshadowing of how federal judges issue rulings in response to challenges made to voting laws in the aftermath of a 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated critical portions of the Voting Rights Act, in particular provisions requiring nine states (primarily in the south) to obtain federal approval in advance before changing their election laws.

The ruling, Shelby County v. Holder, was upheld by the Supreme Court in the summer of 2013 by a 5-4 ruling and eliminated the protective measures in the Voting Rights Act known as “preclearance,” which mandated that certain states and local governments had to submit proposed voting changes to the Justice Department or to a federal court in Washington for approval, no matter how big or seemingly insignificant, before they could legally be implemented.

No such requirements now exist and, in states with changing racial, ethnic, and political demographics,

North Carolina Electoral map in 2008, which President Barack Obama won by just .4%. Credit: NY Times
North Carolina Electoral map in 2008, which President Barack Obama won by just .4%.
Credit: NY Times

it could swing national and local elections across the country.

“By meticulously targeting measures that were most used by people of color – in addition to imposing a restrictive photo ID requirement – the legislature sought to disturb the levers of power in North Carolina, ensuring only a select few could participate in the democratic process,” said Penda D. Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights organization, “This fight is not over.”

“Through widespread actions, rallies, marches and protests, we have said all along that we would accept no less than unabridged access to the ballot for all eligible voters,” said Rev. William J. Barber II, the president of the North Carolina chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. adding, “Just like those who carried on before us, we will continue our movement challenging regressive and discriminatory voter suppression tactics on behalf of African Americans, Latinos, seniors, students, and all those for whom democracy has been denied.”

North Carolina’s primary cycle has already seen this legislation in practice at its ugliest, where allegedly a man of Hindu descent was required to spell his name to polling administrator questioning the authenticity of his voter I.D, a scene eerily reminiscent of the vaunted literacy tests deployed throughout the South during the Jim Crow Era deliberately used to deny black Americans and other minorities the right to vote.

Nonetheless, there is some hope.  In fall of 2014, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit – where opponents of the law intend to appeal – issued a preliminary injunction forcing the state to temporarily restore a ballot access provision allowing same-day registration. Civil Rights advocates will be hoping to achieve a similar injunction heading into a critical voting season.

President Obama won North Carolina in the 2008 election against Senator John McCain by less than .4% margin.

In 2012, former Gov. Mitt Romney won the state by 2.2%.

250 Anti-Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Groups Condemn “Bathroom Bills” Targeting Transgender Population

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women released a statement Thursday opposing anti-transgender initiatives–such as North Carolina’s notorious HB2–because they will inevitably increase violence against transgender people rather than protect women from violence.

The group’s statement, ‘National Consensus Statement of Anti-Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Organizations in Support of Full and Equal Access for the Transgender Community,’ has been signed by 250 different anti-sexual assault and anti-domestic violence groups.

Of the 250 groups, most work closely with the survivors of sexual assault, rape, domestic violence and other crimes against women.  They specialize in the prevention of violence and care for its victims and are specially in tune with what is needed to stop sexual violence.

N.C. Governor Pat McCrory has repeatedly called it “common sense” that women may fall victim to sexual predators in bathrooms or locker rooms, predators who are transgender or masquerade at women in order to abuse them.  These fears have not been substantiated and have been called a “myth” by the task force.

Anti-transgender initiatives, the statement says, “utilize and perpetuate the myth that protecting transgender people’s access to restrooms and locker rooms endangers the safety or privacy of others.”

“As organizations that care about reducing assault and violence, we favor laws and policies that protect transgender people from discrimination, including in accessing facilities that match the gender they live every day,” the statement continues.

These initiatives utilize and perpetuate the myth that protecting transgender people’s access to restrooms and locker rooms endangers the safety or privacy of others. As organizations that care about reducing assault and violence, we favor laws and policies that protect transgender people from discrimination, including in accessing facilities that match the gender they live every day.

According to the task force, transgender people already suffer “unconscionably high rates” of sexual assault.  They live every day as a particular gender and are vulnerable to assault when forced to use facilities that don’t correspond to the gender they identify with.

“As advocates committed to ending sexual assault and domestic violence of every kind, we will never support any law or policy that could put anyone at greater risk for assault or harassment,” said the statement.

Target Issues Strong Response To LGBT Discrimination, Says Customers Welcome In Fitting Rooms/Bathrooms Corresponding With Gender Identity

Company issues official statement titled “Continuing to Stand for Inclusivity”

Target CEO Brian Cornell

As states and school districts across the country in GOP controlled legislatures grapple with laws and ordinances stipulating transgender bathroom – among other legalized discrimination under the guise of “Religious Liberty,” – one multinational retail giant is standing in solidarity against bigotry and prejudicial policies.

In a statement on its company website Tuesday, Target affirmed their commitment to equality and equity.”

“We believe that everyone – every team member, every guest, and every community – deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the Federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.”

The statement goes onto further clarify that “In our stores we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”

“Given the specific questions these legislative proposals raised about how we manage our fitting rooms and restrooms, we felt it was important to state our position.”

Target’s public affirmation of their commitment to LGBT rights comes as a direct response to the so-called “bathroom bill,” officially known as House Bill 2 (HB2), signed into law late March by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, which officially blocked local governments throughout the state from passing non-discrimination measures based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The most contentious piece of the legislation required transgender people to use public restrooms based on the gender listed on their birth certificate, which was widely speculated to have been encouraged by McRory as an attack on the city of Charlotte passing legislation protecting the rights of trans and gender non-conforming peoples to freely relieve themselves where they feel most comfortable.

In the wake of HB2, several other states – Tennessee, Mississippi, and Missouri, to name a few – have all passed legislation legalizing discrimination against LGBT persons under the pretense of “religious liberty.”

Target’s announcement immediately drew comparisons from a communications perspective to the official statement released by PayPal earlier this month, where the global currency exchange giant proudly announced that it would be abandoning plans to build a global operations center in Charlotte – creating 250+ skilled jobs in the process – in the city of Charlotte due to its bigoted legislation.

Target’s announcement, while not nearly as direct in its financial flexing as PayPal’s, nonetheless shows the impact morally responsible private institutions can and should be playing in the fight towards equality for LGBT persons.


It is especially pertinent, as they specifically aforementioned, because a law like HB2 involves restroom facilities at their locations statewide, and, as Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune at Target Headquarters in Minneapolis, the company is choosing to be “very overt in stating” that this was not about a new policy, but emphatically affirming a commitment to the preexisting community it has always promoted.

It is the hope from those within the Target organization that this will encourage other corporations to stand in solidarity as well.

“Target being more proactive about it could very well open – or force – the dialogue,” said Carol Spieckerman, a retail consultant with the company, “Anytime a retailer takes a more vocal stance, the microphone goes in front of all of the others.”

Well done, Target.

Let’s hope others continue to follow.

Deutsche Bank Will Freeze Plans To Create 250 N.C. Jobs Over State’s Anti-LGBT Law

Deutsche Bank, the leading bank of Germany, announced on Tuesday that it is freezing plans to expand its operations in North Carolina, including plans to create 250 more jobs at its Cary location.

In a statement from the bank, Deutsche Bank revealed that the decision was due to HB2, the state law enacted on March 23rd which invalidated municipal anti-discrimination protections and prevents new municipal protections from being enacted that would prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

HB2 also calls for transgender people to use only the bathrooms that correspond with the gender indicated on their birth certificates.

John Cryan, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Bank, said: “We take our commitment to building inclusive work environments seriously. We’re proud of our operations and employees in Cary and regret that as a result of this legislation we are unwilling to include North Carolina in our US expansion plans for now. We very much hope that we can re-visit our plans to grow this location in the near future.”

The bank announced in September 2015 that it would be adding 250 jobs to its software application development center in Cary by 2017, which currently employs around 900 people.

Governor Pat McCrory, who signed HB2 into law the moment it reached his desk, praised the Deutsche Bank expansion after it was announced last fall.

He said the state’s technology talent pool, competitive costs, “great quality of life” and proximity to New York City “will continue to help foster the growth and success of pioneering businesses like DB Global.”

Last week, PayPal also cited HB2 as the reason it would not open a global operations center in Charlotte which would have created over 400 jobs.

Over the weekend Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert in North Carolina to protest the anti-LGBT law. Fighting against “prejudice and bigotry” is “more important than a rock show,” the rock-n-roll legend said.

South Carolina Imitates N.C.’s Anti-LGBT Bathroom Bill In New Legislation, Despite Controversy And Pressure From Business Leaders

South Carolina has followed Mississippi, whose governor signed a similar bill on Tuesday, in an attempt to become the latest state to force transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates.

Other “bathroom bills” were vetoed last week by the governors of Georgia and Virginia, while North Carolina is still embroiled in controversy over the anti-anti-discrimination bill which affects LGBT people it rushed through state government two weeks ago.

Citizens, activists and over 130 CEOs of large companies such as Bank of America and American Airlines have called for N.C. mayor Pat McCrory to repeal HB 2, which bars municipal governments such as Charlotte from passing anti-discrimination measures based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The new legislation in South Carolina, S. 1203, was proposed in the state Senate on Wednesday would also ban local governments from protecting transgender individuals seeking to use bathrooms based on their gender identity

“I’ve about had enough of this,” S.C. Republican Senator Lee Bright, the bill’s sponsor said. “I mean, years ago we kept talking about tolerance, tolerance, and tolerance, and now they want men who claim to be women to be able to go into bathrooms with children. And you got corporations who say this is okay.”

“Men should use the men’s room, and women should use the women’s room – that’s just common sense,” Bright said. “North Carolina is getting so much flak over what is common sense.”

S. 1203 calls for the following:

Units of local government in this State may not enact local laws, ordinances, orders, or other regulations that require a place of public accommodation or a private club or other establishment not in fact open to the general public to allow a person to use a multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility regardless of the person’s biological sex. A local law, ordinance, order, or other regulation enacted by a unit of local government to require a person to use a multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility designated for his biological sex is not a violation of this chapter and does not constitute discrimination based upon a protected category.

Bright’s bill defines ‘biological sex’ as “the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate.”

Republican Governor Nikki Haley, however, has stated that the bill doesn’t add anything new to the state, which passed a law in 1999 covering the same parameters.

“What I will tell you is in South Carolina, we are blessed because we don’t have to mandate respect or kindness or responsibility in this state,” Haley said. “And so I’ll tell you that law has worked perfectly. I don’t know of any example that we’ve had a problem on and South Carolina is going to continue to focus on ethics and on roads and on jobs and on all of those things because we think we’ve got that part covered.”

Solidarity: Charles Barkley Calls For The NBA To Move 2017 All Star Game From Charlotte In Response To Bigoted Legislation

“As a black person, I’m against any form of discrimination – against whites Hispanics, gays, lesbians, however you want to phrase it,”

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game may be 10 months away, but Charles Barkley is already strongly urging the NBA to pull the league’s highlight-reeled weekend out of Charlotte after North Carolina passed a law barring the extension of civil rights protections to its gay, lesbian, and transgender population.

In an interview with CNN, Barkley said he wanted to use his platform as a celebrity to speak on behalf of those whose voice may not reach as large of an audience, saying the NBA should stand tall in solidarity with the LGBT community and reject any league-sanctioned event that would enable the city and state to profit from its organization.

“As a black person, I’m against any form of discrimination – against whites, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, however you want to phrase it,” Barkley said, “It’s my job, with the position of power that I’m in and being able to be on television, I’m supposed to stand up for the people who can’t stand up for themselves. So I think the NBA should move the All-Star Game from Charlotte.,”

Charles Barkley is the latest public figure to speak out against North Carolina's House Bill 2
Charles Barkley is the latest public figure to speak out against North Carolina’s House Bill 2

The law, House Bill 2, ironically was passed as a backlash to a series of protections that Charlotte passed safeguarding its LGBT community from discrimination, which Governor Pat McCrory warned at the time would be met with swift retaliation.

HB2 was signed into law a few weeks later.

This is not the first time Barkley has taken a strong stance on social and cultural issues; for all of his outlandish antics, he has spoken out strongly against racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry on numerous occasions, most notably a year ago when he urged the NCAA to move the Final Four out of Indianapolis when a similar law was passed by the Indiana state legislature.

For their part, the NBA made a statement hinting that this was in strong consideration.

“The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events,” the league said in a statement. “We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect, and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.”

Barkley and the NBA join a growing chorus of private sector companies and public figures using their following and financial muscle to pressure North Carolina into repealing this bigoted legislation.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory

Two weeks ago Google Ventures announced that it would not back any companies in the state until HB2 is repealed, and earlier this week PayPal announced it was abandoning its plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte, which would have created 400 new skilled jobs.  PayPal’s CEO announced the decision in a statement saying that “legislation has been abruptly enacted by the State of North Carolina that invalidates protections of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and denies these members of our community equal rights under the law.”

At the time of PayPal’s announcement for its operations facility, McCrory had bragged about this economic achievement as a major win for Charlotte’s growing tech community, saying “Today’s announcement means that we can add another prominent company to the state’s growing list of technology businesses with major operations here.”

McCrory was unavailable for comment after the decision was made public.

At the moment, the NFL is still planning on hosting next month’s owners’ meetings, with league spokesman Brian McCarthy telling ESPN.com “We embrace diversity and inclusiveness in all of our policies. The Oanthers have made clear their position of non-discrimination and respect for all their fans. The city of Charlotte also has made clear its position.”

Your move, Governor.