By Jamie Plummer
After the Supreme Court ratified a federal mandate to legalize gay marriage in all fifty states last year, the nation finally seemed to be taking the proper steps towards equality. The rights that the LGBTQ+ community and their allies had been fearlessly fighting for for decades were finally being granted. However, as history has entailed, there have “always been discriminatory responses to historic moments of progression.”
On March 23 of this year, the state of North Carolina passed a law requiring the use of public bathrooms to adhere to one’s biological sex--a law governor Pat McCroy and other Republican leaders have defined as necessary to protect women from sexual assault. The true motives behind the law, however, are not as benevolent as the officials claim. The law, instead of offering protection, discriminates and alienates another group of people, the transgender community.
McCroy and supporters have thinly veiled their opposition to the transgenders by conveying the issue as something else entirely, and have somewhat succeeded. The rest of the nation, however, is standing on the right side of history.
The bill has ignited protests from around the country--human rights groups, businesses, entertainers, and even sports teams have spoken out against the act. The most prominent of those in opposition, though, is the federal government. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a civil lawsuit against the state and has threatened to cut its funding, arguing the new law violates the Civil Rights Act. North Carolina, in turn, has filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department, as McCroy accuses it of “blatant overreach” and argues that “transgender status isn't a protected class” under civil rights laws. Civil rights laws, however, don’t pertain to specific classes--they pertain to and protect all people.
The unnecessary passing of this bill has been necessarily rebutted with a number of protests. North Carolina now not only faces tremendous opposition, but also a risky legal battle. The type of action taking place against this bill is crucial, as it affects all of us. By taking away the rights of some, they are afforded the ability to take the rights of all. There are many parallels between the discrimination the LGBTQ+ community faces today with the discrimination African Americans faced some fifty years ago. The repetition of that pattern is alarming and inexcusable, but there is great hope as people from across the country come together to retaliate against these acts of prejudice, and as the Justice Department stands its ground--stop injustice.
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