Federal Judge Says North Carolina Can't Ban Trans People From Bathrooms

The consent decree makes clear transgender North Carolinians are allowed to use facilities matching their gender identity.

A federal judge has signed a consent decree stating North Carolina cannot enforce a law preventing transgender people from using bathrooms and facilities matching their gender identity in state-run buildings.

U.S. Judge Thomas Schroeder approved of the decree on Monday. It follows a series of actions, beginning with the compromised repeal of HB2, the anti-LGBTQ law that included the bathroom provision, as well as nullifying city's nondiscrimination ordinances. The replacement bill, HB142, still included language that would prevent trans people from using facilities matching their gender identity, leading to a court challenge.

In October 2017, Cooper signed a nondiscrimination ordinance executive order and, on the same day, submitted the decree to be approved of by the federal judge. Almost exactly a year later, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

"After so many years of managing the anxiety of H.B.2 and fighting so hard, I am relieved that we finally have a court order to protect transgender people from being punished under these laws," said lead plaintiff Joaquin Carcaño in a statement.

"This is a tremendous victory but not a complete one. While I am glad that Governor Cooper agreed to this settlement, it remains devastating to know that local protections for LGBTQ people are still banned under state law while so many members of our community continue to face violence, harassment, and discrimination simply because of who we are. The fight for full justice will continue."

"While this part of the court fight may be ending, so much urgent work remains as long as people who are LGBTQ are denied basic protections from violence and discrimination simply because of who they are," said Irena Como, Acting Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina.

"The shameful stain of House Bill 2 and the pain and harm it caused to so many people will always be part of North Carolina’s history. LGBTQ North Carolinians still lack comprehensive, statewide nondiscrimination protections while on the job, patronizing a business open to the public, or simply going about their daily lives."

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