North Carolina lawmakers convened a special session March 22 to pass a bill requiring public schools to allow access to multiple occupancy bathrooms and locker rooms based solely on the biological sex listed on a student’s birth certificate.
The special session, costing taxpayers $42,000 a day, was called to block a Charlotte ordinance from taking effect April 1 that would have allowed transgender individuals the right to use public facilities based on their gender identity.
The bill, passed by the House 83-25 and — following a walkout by Democratic senators — voted in the Senate a unanimous 32-0, also amends protections against discrimination based on a person’s sex to add the modifier “biological” sex. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill into law Wednesday night.
Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, and Equality North Carolina all quickly condemned the measure and said they are exploring legal options to challenge the law.
Religious Right groups including the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina vocally opposed Charlotte’s anti-discrimination measure, but progressive Baptists in the state told Baptist News Global that the North Carolina’s Southern Baptist leadership does not speak for them.
The bill allows school boards the option of providing unisex bathrooms for changing rooms to accommodate special needs, as long as they are occupied by one person at a time.