To tell the truth, the legal stuff is not in my wheelhouse, but that seems to be where I've had to hang out the last few days. Tuesday it was DOJ to appeal injunction and yesterday it was Federal judges issue conflicting rulings. Today we travel to Virginia for the challenge of North Carolina's HB2.
In a lawsuit challenging the North Carolina law banning transgender people from using restrooms that correspond to their gender identity, LGBT rights groups yesterday asked a federal appeals court to broaden a preliminary injunction in order to protect all transgender people in the state from discrimination.
In August, a district court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the North Carolina university system from enforcing H.B. 2 against the three individual transgender plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Carcaño v. McCrory, which is scheduled for trial in May 2017. The advocates also asked the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite the appeal and schedule oral argument for January.
Every day that H.B. 2 singles out transgender North Carolinians — whether at school, at work, or just moving through their daily lives — is another day that the transgender community is told that they are second class. Though the district court recognized the serious harm to three of our clients at UNC as a result of H.B. 2, that recognition unfortunately didn’t extend to the harms that law inflicts on other transgender individuals in public buildings across North Carolina. We hope and expect that the Fourth Circuit will expand this ruling to protect all transgender people.
--Chris Brook, ACLU of North Carolina legal director
The appeal brief filed yesterday argues that H.B. 2 violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause because it specifically targets transgender people, and that discrimination against transgender people is a form of sex discrimination. While North Carolina has argued that H.B. 2 advances interests in public safety and privacy, ACLU and Lambda Legal argue that these interests, which can be protected in other ways, do not justify the harms H.B. 2 imposes on transgender people and that to restore the status quo, the court must grant a broader preliminary injunction while the case proceeds to trial.
H.B. 2 makes transgender North Carolinians pariahs in their own state. Courthouses, airports, libraries, public schools, highway rest stops, police departments, state hospitals, and the very halls of government itself are now unsafe for, and unwelcome to, transgender North Carolinians. Such unequal treatment simply cannot be squared with the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of equality under the law. The Fourth Circuit should order this broader relief, pending trial.
--Jon W. Davidson, national legal director at Lambda Legal