North Carolina Law Quashes Transgender Bathroom Rights

The legislation overturns a local regulation that would have allowed transgender people to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity. 


North Carolina's governor on Wednesday signed into law a measure that blocks local governments in the state from enacting ordinances to allow transgender people to use public bathrooms that match their gender identities. The law also bars local governments from passing "living wage" regulations in a state where the minimum wage is just US$7.25 an hour.

The legislation came in response to a provision approved last month in Charlotte, the state's largest city, as part of an expanded nondiscrimination ordinance that added protections for marital and familial status, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity.

The law signed Wednesday overturns that ordinance and makes it illegal for somone to use a public bathroom and locker room that does not correspond to their biological sex.

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North Carolina's governor on Wednesday signed into law a measure that blocks local governments in the state from enacting ordinances to allow transgender people to use public bathrooms that match their gender identities. The law also bars local governments from passing "living wage" regulations in a state where the minimum wage is just US$7.25 an hour.
The legislation came in response to a provision approved last month in Charlotte, the state's largest city, as part of an expanded nondiscrimination ordinance that added protections for marital and familial status, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity.
The law signed Wednesday overturns that ordinance and makes it illegal for somone to use a public bathroom and locker room that does not correspond to their biological sex.
The bill passed both chambers of the legislature, which are held by Republicans, during a one-day special session convened in Raleigh to address the Charlotte ordinance. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the bill late on Wednesday, said the Charlotte measure "defies common sense."
“The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte," McCrory said in a statement.
Controversy over the bathroom component echoes similar fights across the country, as transgender advocates push for the right to choose restrooms and locker rooms based on gender identity.
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina warned that the "radical" Charlotte measure, which would have taken effect on April 1, would create a public safety issue by giving men, including sex offenders, access to women's bathrooms.
"This is a common sense bill that protects the privacy expectations of our citizens while clarifying local authority," said Republican Representative Paul Stam.
The number of crimes committed in bathrooms by transgender people in 2015 was roughly zero.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups condemned the law's passage and said they were exploring legal challenges. They note that no public safety risks have resulted from more than 200 U.S. cities enacting protections similar to those passed in Charlotte.
"We are disappointed that Governor McCrory did not do right by North Carolina’s families, communities, and businesses by vetoing this horribly discriminatory bill," said Chris Brook, legal director of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
WATCH: A conversation with the first Transgender parents in South America

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