Earth & Conservation

New North Carolina Law Restricts Bathroom Use for LGBT Community

The sweeping legislation was rushed through and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.

<p>Photo: ThinkStock</p>

On Wednesday, North Carolina lawmakers passed a bill that overrides local anti-discrimination measures and prohibits transgender people from using certain bathrooms. Republicans introduced the bill in response to a measure recently passed in Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina.

That law prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, according to the New York Times. The Charlotte ordinance also allowed people to use public restrooms based on their gender identity, not their gender listed on their birth certificate.

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House Bill 2 effectively overrides any local anti-discrimination measures, including the one in Charlotte. The law specifically prohibits people from using public restrooms that do not match their birth gender.

Republican lawmakers who introduced the bill said it was needed to protect women against potentially predatory men from using the same restroom facilities. Although supporters of the legislation say it is an effective way of adopting anti-discrimination measures across the state, the bill does not mention any protections for gay or transgender people specifically.

The House voted 83-25 to pass the bill. Later that day, the Senate voted 32-0 in favor, with all Democratic senators walking out in protest. Republican Gov. Pat McRory signed the bill into law that night.