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Federal appeals court schedules arguments in HB2 challenge

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging House Bill 2 [1], North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation. The hearing is May 10 in Richmond, Virginia.

The ACLU of North Carolina [2] announced Monday that a three-judge panel with the federal appeals court will consider a request to block the anti-transgender provisions of HB2 that ban individuals from using restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender.

In August 2016, a lower court blocked the University of North Carolina from enforcing those provisions against three transgender plaintiffs in the case, Carcaño v. McCrory [3].

In addition to the transgender public facilities provisions, HB2 also prohibits local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to  lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. There has been an ongoing tussle between Republicans and Democrats to repeal the bill.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal, which represent four LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina in the legal challenge, released the following joint statement:

“We look forward to being back in court to fight to ensure that all transgender people in North Carolina are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve and that is required by law. House Bill 2 represents an egregious attack on transgender people and their ability to participate in public life. While we continue to urge North Carolina legislators to repeal the law entirely, without still sanctioning discrimination, particularly against transgender people, we cannot wait for lawmakers to do the right thing. We will continue to fight for the rights of LGBT North Carolinians in court and beyond.”

The statement also included information about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision [4] to send its landmark transgender rights case back to the same appeals court to be reconsidered in light of President Donald Trump’s rollback on protections for transgender students.

While the May 10 hearing at the Fourth Circuit will not focus on Title IX but rather constitutional grounds under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the full lawsuit challenging H.B. 2 raises Title VII, Title IX and constitutional claims.