Transgender rights coalition lead by New York, Washington states, opposes N.C. ‘bathroom bill’
August 2, 2016
As published in AM New York on July 28, 2016.
New York, along with Washington State, is leading a coalition of 10 states and the District of Columbia, which have filed a court brief opposing enforcement of North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
The New York governor and attorney general, who have banned all non-essential state travel to North Carolina, oppose a bill signed in March by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory overturning an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance that bans individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to the gender specified on their birth certificates.
The coalition filed a second brief opposing the Texas’s challenge to federal guidelines that allow transgender students to use facilities consistent with their gender identity.
“These briefs from major states that have already enacted non-discrimination laws show that the supposed harm resulting from transgender students” using the facilities they prefer “is simply wrong,” said Jillian Weiss, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.
While it is difficult to know what will swing an open minded judge, Weiss was hopeful the briefs “will definitely make a difference: There are 20,000 school districts across the country where transgender students need to find safety and education,” Weiss said.
The amicus brief, which was also signed by California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont, alleges that the implementation of the North Carolina law H.B. 2 violates three federal antidiscrimination statutes.
These states side with the federal government, which filed a suit in May against North Carolina, its governor, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, the University of North Carolina and the UNC Board of Governors alleging that the implementation and enforcement of H.B. 2 violates three different anti-discrimination statutes.
Weiss hoped the brief would persuade the courts not to allow discriminatory measures to stand in the southern states. “Transgender people’s identity should be respected. Forcing someone to use an inappropriate restroom is a denial of a transgender person’s identity, a means of humiliating people, and is not in accordance with our American ideals,” Weiss said.