Lawsuit against NC’s HB2 grows

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Three more plaintiffs have joined a lawsuit against North Carolina’s House Bill 2.

Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of North Carolina announced Thursday that a transgender student in Winston-Salem and a married lesbian couple from Charlotte were added to the lawsuit.

Hunter Schafer, 17, is high school junior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts High School in Winston-Salem. Hunter was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in the ninth grade. She currently stays in the girls’ dorm, but because of HB2, Hunter could be required to use the boys’ restroom.

“I just want to be able to concentrate on school, grow as an artist, and have fun while doing that,” Schafer said in a news release. “I’m not a man. I have always felt more comfortable in the girls’ dorm at school and the girls’ restroom and using them has never been a problem. It’s humiliating and scary that there’s now a law that would force me to go to a boys’ bathroom when I clearly don’t belong there.”

Beverly Newell, 45, and Kelly Trent, 39, of Charlotte, say they experienced discrimination at a fertility clinic. Newell and Trent said the clinic called to cancel their appointment saying they do not serve same-sex couples.

“It’s unnerving to know that we could be turned away by any business for being a same-sex couple and have no recourse because of HB 2,” Newell said in a written release. “HB2 has encouraged this type of conduct and we no longer have the ability to file discrimination complaints when this type of thing happens in our home city of Charlotte. The bill has made it OK to harm LGBT people. The state of North Carolina is better than this.”

The other plaintiffs in this case include Joaquín Carcaño, 27, a UNC-Chapel Hill employee from Carrboro; Payton McGarry, 20, a UNC-Greensboro student who was born and raised in Wilson; and Angela Gilmore, 52, a North Carolina Central University law professor. The ACLU of North Carolina is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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

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