Governor, ACLU Reach Settlement in Heated Federal Transgender Lawsuit

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October 18, 2017Oct 18, 2017

It has been reported by The Hill that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have come to a major settlement. In an agreement to settle a lawsuit on Wednesday, a consent decree was filed mandating that public facilities let transgender persons use whatever bathroom they want. 

The judge presiding over the case must first agree to the terms of the consent. Only then will the decree become a law. 

In short, the decree dictates that transgender people, under state law, can use public facilities that coordinate with what they believe to be their "gender identities." It doesn't appear that the settlement has any impact on private property owners, but only on public facilities. 

This recent settlement rolls back a bill that claimed all people are required by law, when using public facilities, to use the bathroom that aligns with the biological gender given to them on their birth certificates.

Governor Cooper, a Democrat, claimed that the decree is a major step forward in creating legal protections for transgender people. 

“Earlier this year, I said there was more work to do to protect against discrimination and make North Carolina a welcoming state,” Cooper said. “Today’s executive order and consent decree are important steps toward fighting discrimination and enacting protections throughout state government and across our state.”

US News writes that the measure to encourage people to use the bathroom according to their biological gender began in March. Some businesses and sports event pulled from the state in protest in the year after it enacted the "bathroom bill" known as HB 2. Activists said that transgender people are facing "discrimination" and "threats to their safety" under the new law. 

“For too many reasons, it is not in our state’s best interest to remain in drawn-out court battles that still linger because of HB 2,” Cooper, a Democrat, said in a statement, according to US News.

On their website, the ACLU hailed the settlement as a defense of human rights but claim that "attacks on the LGBTQ community" will continue. Many defenders of the bill, however, would say that the ACLU and the so-called the LGBTQ community are a small minority of citizens, forcing a cultural taboo into law and onto a community who by and large oppose it.

"After two years of being attacked by their very own state government, trans North Carolinians are moving closer to obtaining partial victory," reads an article published on the ACLU website.

It continues, "For the past two years, North Carolina lawmakers have prioritized attacks on trans people. Our lives, our bodies, our ability to exist in public have been compromised amidst rhetoric and official policy that falsely and dangerously situates us as inherent threats to the privacy of others."

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