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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Anti-LGBT North Carolina Law Triggers Suit

(CN) - A lesbian law school professor and two transgender people sued North Carolina Gov. Patrick McCrory and others on Monday over a new state law that pre-empts anti-discrimination ordinances passed by local municipalities and requires transgender individuals to use bathrooms assigned to their birth-gender.

The lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Angela Gilmore, 52, an associate dean and professor at the North Carolina Central University School of Law; Joaquin Carcano, an employee of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Payton Grey McGarry, a student at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Both Carcano and McGarry were born female, but now consider themselves male.

In a lawsuit filed in the Charlotte Federal Court, the three plaintiffs claim that "by singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, (the new law) violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution.

Joining them in challenging the new law are the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, and Equality North Carolina, the state's largest non-profit organization advocating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Gov. McCrory signed the bill at the center of the controversy into law last week. It was rushed through the state legislature by lawmakers who wanted to overturn an impending Charlotte ordinance that would have provided broad protections against discrimination in the state's largest city, and also would have allowed transgender people to use public restrooms aligned with their gender identity.

The new law also prohibits counties, cities and other local municipalities from extending protections related to sexual orientation at hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

The law also requires university and other public school students to use only those bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.

As a result, in addition to McCrory and state Attorney General Roy Cooper, the named defendants include the University of North Carolina system.

Cooper, a Democrat, is challenging McCrory in this year's race for governor. He is named as a defendant because his office is obliged to defend the state in litigation.

The plaintiffs seeks declaratory and injunctive relief on claims of deprivation of equal protection, violation of right to privacy, violation of liberty and autonomy in the right to refuse unwanted medical treatment, and violations of Title IX.

They are represented by Christopher Brook of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and Elizabeth Gill of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation in New York, and Tara Borelli, of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in Atlanta.

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