HRC and Equality North Carolina slammed Donald Trump for endorsing HB2, the deeply discriminatory law targeting LGBTQ and other people across the state. Last night, during a campaign appearance in Raleigh, Colin Campbell of the News and Observer asked Trump again about his opinion of the hateful HB2 law. Trump broke with national Republican leaders, the majority of North Carolina voters, and more than 200 corporate leaders to endorse the legislation, responding, “I’m going with the state. The state, they know what’s going on, they see what’s happening and generally speaking I’m with the state on things like this. I’ve spoken with your governor, I’ve spoken with a lot of people and I’m going with the state.”
Trump has attempted to talk around the issue: on the same day he said he would personally ‘allow Caitlyn Jenner to use the women’s restroom at Trump Tower,’ he clarified to Sean Hannity on FOX News that he would “leave it up to the states” and do nothing as President to intervene. Despite the fact HB2 blatantly discriminates against LGBTQ people and violates the Constitution, our nation’s civil rights laws, and the Violence Against Women Act — Donald Trump has repeatedly reiterated since then that state leaders should be able to pass such laws. While the the Department of Justice filed a brief last night asking a federal judge to halt the implementation of HB2, Trump went even farther to declare his support for HB2 specifically.
“Let’s be clear, Donald Trump just gave one of the nation’s worst laws for LGBTQ people a full-throated endorsement,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs.“By buddying up with Governor Pat McCrory on the deeply discriminatory HB2, Donald Trump is unabashedly embracing a dangerous law that takes away the civil rights of LGBTQ people and has cost North Carolina not only its reputation but millions of dollars in economic losses.”
“Donald Trump’s garbled comments on HB2, the worst anti-LGBT law in the nation, show that he does not grasp the issues critical to the state of North Carolina,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “Over and over, he has shown himself to be unqualified as a Presidential candidate, and no friend to gay and transgender people. We must resoundly reject his ill-informed discrimination in November.”
Trump’s short list for Vice President also now reportedly includes Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who similarly defended a discriminatory bill last year targeting LGBTQ people, and badly damaged the state’s business and tourism appeal. His support for HB2 comes two weeks after he met with hundreds of anti-LGBTQ activists in New York, including the Family Research Council, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Trump has also made clear he opposes guidance issued by the Department of Education seeking to ensure transgender students are treated with dignity, and have access to restrooms that match their gender identity, Trump opposed it, saying it should, “be a states’ rights” issue. And in a prior campaign speech in North Carolina, Trump heaped the praise on Gov. McCrory, who signed the terrible law, saying, “…he’s doing a fantastic job.”
This year, over 200 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in 34 states. But as far as Trump is concerned, states should be free to violate federal laws — including such as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 — and deny LGBTQ people equal treatment under the law.
HB 2 has eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. In addition, the legislation prevents transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. It also compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, major airports, and convention centers.
In the 100 days since Governor McCrory and state lawmakers rammed HB2 into law, the overwhelming outcry from fair-minded North Carolinians, business leaders, and LGBTQ equality advocates has continued to grow. More than 200 major CEOs and business leaders signed an open letter calling for full repeal of HB2 — including many of North Carolina’s largest employers. Conventions have withdrawn from the state, taking substantial revenue with them, and the Charlotte Chamber said in May that HB2 has cost the Mecklenburg area alone $285 million and 1,300 jobs.