North Carolina Sued in Challenge to Anti-LGBT Law

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March 28, 2016

Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law, HB 2.

The case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the University of North Carolina, is on behalf of two transgender North Carolinians and a lesbian North Carolina Central University law professor.

Plaintiff Joaquín Carcaño, a UNC-Chapel Hill employee, says:

“HB 2 is hurtful and demeaning. I just want to go to work and live my life. This law puts me in the terrible position of either going into the women’s room where I clearly don’t belong or breaking the law. But this is about more than restrooms, this is about my job, my community, and my ability to get safely through my day and be productive like everyone else in North Carolina.”

Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Tara Borelli says:

“No legislature should be using its power to require cities, counties, or school districts to discriminate against anyone. This law is a targeted and unprecedented attack on the LGBT community, particularly against transgender people, both young people and adults. Clearly HB 2 is unconstitutional as it not only violates the guarantees of equal protection and due process in the U.S. Constitution but it also violates Title IX by requiring discrimination in education. North Carolina legislators cannot strip equality out of the Constitution and the law.” 

The plaintiffs in this case are:

  • Joaquín Carcaño, 27, a UNC-Chapel Hill employee from Carrboro
  • Payton McGarry, 20, a UNC-Greensboro student who was born and raised in Wilson
  • Angela Gilmore, 52, a North Carolina Central University law professor.

Also named plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Equality North Carolina and the ACLU of North Carolina.

Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the ACLU of North Carolina are filing the lawsuit together as co-counsel in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

In the complaint being filed today, the plaintiffs allege that through HB 2, North Carolina sends a purposeful message that LGBT people are second-class citizens who are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded others in the state.

The complaint argues that HB 2 is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment because it discriminates on the basis of sex and sexual orientation and is an invasion of privacy for transgender people. The law also violates Title IX by discriminating against students and school employees on the basis of sex.  

For information and resources regarding discrimination related to sexual orientation, contact Lambda Legal's Help Desk.