RALEIGH, N.C. — The Democratic governor of North Carolina has submitted a consent decree allowing “transgender” residents to use the restrooms that align with their “gender identity” in an effort to end a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the matter.
“The executive branch defendants, in their official capacities, and all successors, officers, and employees are hereby permanently enjoined from enforcing Section 2 of H.B. 142 to bar, prohibit, block, deter, or impede any transgender individuals from using public facilities under any executive branch defendant’s control or supervision, in accordance with the transgender individual’s gender identity,” the decree reads in part.
As previously reported, in March 2016, the ACLU filed a lawsuit to challenge H.B. 2, also known as the “bathroom bill,” which required that those who identify as the opposite sex present their amended birth certificate before being permitted to use their preferred restroom when visiting government facilities.
While the law was later replaced by H.B. 142, which prohibited municipalities from passing any new laws surrounding restroom use until 2020 and instead gave the power to the state, the ACLU and its complainants found the legislation to be insufficient.
Cooper and state Attorney General Josh Stein therefore submitted a consent decree on Thursday in an effort to settle the lawsuit. The decree would essentially reverse H.B. 2 in that it would allow those who identify as the opposite sex to freely use the restroom that correlates with their “gender identity” without showing a birth certificate.
“For too many reasons, it is not in our state’s best interest to remain in drawn-out court battles that still linger because of H.B. 2,” Cooper said in a statement. “As a state, we need to work together to make North Carolina more welcoming, and I am pleased that we could come together with the other party in this case to show that we agree.”
Cooper also signed an executive order on Wednesday, which prohibits discrimination against residents on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” It mandates that those who contract with the state do not have policies in place that “discriminate” against homosexual and transgendered persons.
“State agencies, boards, commissions, and departments under the jurisdiction of the office of the governor will not adopt policies or regulations barring, prohibiting, blocking, deterring or impeding any individual who lawfully uses public facilities under their control or supervision, in accordance with that individual’s gender identity,” the order also reads.
However, the North Carolina Values Coalition characterized the governor’s moves as a “betrayal” against residents and a usurpation of power only allotted to the legislative branch.
“The governor’s and attorney general’s actions today constitute a massive power grab, with sweeping changes that only the legislative branch has the authority to enact,” said Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald.
“After signing into law earlier this year HB 142, which kept in place longstanding laws that required that showers and bathrooms be used in accordance with one’s sex on their birth certificate, Governor Cooper has betrayed the people of North Carolina with an executive order that not only allows boys and men into girls’ and women’s showers and bathrooms, but also forces private businesses to adopt sweeping LGBT special rights,” she stated.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest also disagreed with Cooper’s actions, remarking in a statement, “While I take at face value the Governor’s intent to help transgender people use the bathroom of their identity, his order creates a legal loophole that will be exploited by non-transgender pedophiles, stalkers and perverts.”
“All bathrooms at state rest areas, parks and museums will now be fertile ground for sexual deviants who will falsely claim to be transgender to gain protected access to our women and children,” he lamented.