The Human Rights Campaign, or HRC, has released their 5th annual State Equity Index, a report which categorizes states by how well LGBTQ citizens are protected through legislation.
Out of the four categories, North Carolina falls into the lowest, which is “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.”
State Legislative Director for HRC Cathryn Oakley says the primary reason for this low categorization is HB142, the replacement for the infamous HB2, which Oakley calls discriminatory and anti-transgender.
“That discriminatory law is really going to hold back protections for LGBTQ people, particularly the transgender community in North Carolina,” says Oakley.
While HB142 was seen as a compromise by the General Assembly, many say the bill fails to reverse the damage done by HB2.
When legislation like HB142 goes after the rights of LGBTQ people, according to Oakley, there are no federal protections to fall back on.
“Unfortunately there are currently no comprehensive civil rights protections for LGBTQ people at the federal level,” says Oakley. “That means that the rights of millions of LGBTQ people and their families depend on which state they live in.”
Despite this, Oakley says 71 percent of Americans support non-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community such as the Equality Act which, if passed, would extend the protections offered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity across many areas of life.
Oakley says that bill and others on the state level such as New York’s Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act offer hope in the area of LGBTQ protections.
“We’re seeing bills already that are passing in 2019 that are really exciting and that continue this chain of proactive, non-discrimination, and other protections for the LGBTQ community,” says Oakley.
More that 130 major employers in all 50 states are part of the HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act.
You can get more information on the equity index here.