HB2, The Year’s Biggest Controversy

RALEIGH– Perhaps the largest political controversy in North Carolina in 2016 had to do with bathrooms.

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 is a bill that was passed in North Carolina in 2016 which states that single sex multiple occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities are limited to only the use of the person’s biological sex, which is stated on their birth certificate. The only exceptions are for custodial purposes, maintenance or inspection, medical assistance, or to accompany a student needing assistance which is authorized by a student’s parent or caregiver.

Parts two and three of the Bill, which are referred to as the “Wage and Hour Act,”reiterates that the state protects and safeguards the right and opportunity of people to seek, obtain and hold employment without discrimination based on race, religion, color, natural origin, age, biological sex, or handicap. However, this portion of the bill leaves out discrimination against sexuality and gender identity/expression, which means that under this bill, homosexual people and people who do not identify with the gender stated on their birth certificates are at risk of being subjected to workplace discrimination.

HB2 was met with boycotts from businesses, musicians, performance artists, and sports leagues, which led to national headlines and outrage from people who oppose the bill. These have led to protests and have also caused an economic backlash against North Carolina. The bill played a role in the 2016 campaigns of former NC Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and new NC Gov. Roy Cooper (D). Pressure from the NCAA tournament site selection committee recently led to the development of HB 142, a bill intended to draw businesses and organizations back to North Carolina.

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