The North Carolina General Assembly managed to anger millions of people on March 23, when it passed House Bill 2 into law within a single day.
HB2, as the law is called, was created in response to a nondiscrimination ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council. Pat McCrory, the governor of North Carolina, was previously mayor of Charlotte and openly criticized the ordinance when it passed. One of HB2’s main provisions overturns local nondiscrimination ordinances and prohibits municipalities from passing new ones. This, in addition to the law’s language that states that people may only use the bathroom or locker room of the gender listed on their birth certificate, gave HB2 the nickname of the “bathroom bill.”
The “bathroom bill” does more harm than just complicating bathrooms. In the article titled the Equal Access to Public Accommodations Act, the list of attributes that cannot be discriminated against are limited to “race, religion, color, national origin, or biological sex,” excluding gender identity or sexual orientation, which means that companies can openly fire LGBT employees without violating the law.
HB2 does not just affect LGBT people, however. The Wage and Hour Act portion of the law prohibits local minimum wages, preventing cities from raising their own minimum wages adjusted for the cost of living. The law also prohibits people from entering locker rooms of the opposite sex, which means that coaches would no longer be allowed to enter locker rooms of opposite-sex players. Additionally, the legalized discrimination jeopardizes millions of dollars in federal education funding.
Many Eagles have voiced their opposition to this new legislation. Teresa Gonzalez (’17) called it “completely unfair” and said that it doesn’t make any sense, as trans people are more likely to be abused. Lauren Ortiz (’17) concurred, echoing Teresa’s claim that it was unfair. She said she was unhappy with HB2 and Governor McCrory because her mother “has less protection under the law.”
Ms. Smith, a psychology teacher at East, weighed in on the psychological aspects of the bill. She said that “most prejudice and discrimination comes from fear of the unknown” and said that education is needed to minimize these fears. “Anything that legalizes discrimination is a problem.”