WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—A federal judge will hear one of four court cases concerning House Bill 2 on Aug. 1 in Winston-Salem. This particular case was filed just weeks after HB2’s passage in March, headed by a lesbian law professor at North Carolina Central University, three transgender residents of North Carolina and a lesbian couple from Charlotte. The plaintiffs claim that the controversial law violates federal requirements for equal protection based on gender.
This case will be brought to the court under the legal guidance of a team of lawyers including individuals from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Jenner and Block law firm, and Lambda Legal. The latter, a non-profit founded in 1973, proudly names itself as “the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.”
The plaintiff coalition released a joint statement after the court date was set, reaffirming the importance of immediate intervention regarding the discriminatory legislation.
“Every day that House Bill 2 remains on the books,” the group explained, “transgender North Carolinians suffer irreparable harm at work, in school, and in other public places, simply because they want to use public facilities safely just like everyone else.”
The judge who will hear the case is Thomas Schroeder, a U.S. district judge. Schroeder, a Georgia native, has been in North Carolina since 1985 and was nominated to his current post in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Schroeder’s most publicized recent case concerned North Carolina’s voter ID laws, which some groups claimed were designed to repress minority votes. Schroeder ruled in favor of the law.
Aug. 1 will be the second HB2 court case to be heard by a federal judge, but it won’t be the last. A total of four lawsuits have been filed concerning the controversial legislation. Two are counter-lawsuits between Gov. Pat McCrory’s office and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The two parties have clashed on the national level; the DOJ claims that HB2 is unconstitutional, while the McCrory administration accuses the federal government of “overreach.”
The federal government asked a judge to dismiss McCrory’s lawsuit on July 12.
Though the Aug. 1 hearing concerns only the bathroom provision of the HB2, the Progressive Pulse has called the upcoming court date a “light in the tunnel” for LGBT North Carolinians.