This post originally appeared in the May 1, 2016 edition of the Durham Herald-Sun.
From the grocery store here in Durham to the elegant sewing shop in Carrboro, people are discussing what they think is the matter at hand with House Bill 2. People are talking about bathrooms. This piece of legislation was not a slapped-together debacle. It represents a well-crafted strategy. As Nina Martin wrote in her April 5 essay for ProPublica, “Tucked inside is language that strips North Carolina workers of the ability to sue under a state anti-discrimination law, a right that has been upheld in court since 1985.” Martin quotes Erika K. Wilson, a law professor at the University of North Carolina who specializes in civil law, as saying “The LGBT issues were a Trojan horse.” Martin further notes that this legislation is part of a “burgeoning trend in which conservatives are exploiting a backlash against gay marriage and transgender rights to push legislation with broad ramifications.” Martin quotes Katherine Franke, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, as noting these lawmakers “seek to unravel protections against race discrimination in public accommodations and other contexts.” Read more