Is NC’s new anti-anti-discrimination law unconstitutional

NYT Magazine’s Emily Bazelon weighs in:

The bills are also a reminder of what the Supreme Court calls animus: the mix of bias, dislike and fear that can overtake communities. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said Charlotte’s ordinance “would have given pedophiles, sex offenders and perverts free rein to watch women, boys and girls undress and use the bathroom,” cruel characterizations that have no relationship to being transgender. The court has been clear for years that animus is not a constitutionally permissible basis for legislation. [emphases mine] It’s actually the 20th anniversary of the court’s recognition of that principle, in another case in which a state tried to undo local efforts to protect L.G.B.T. people from discrimination. In the 1996 case Romer v. Evans, the court ruled that Colorado could not amend its state Constitution to block cities and counties from passing ordinances that throw up a legal shield on the basis of sexual orientation.

In other words, Colorado wanted to stop local anti-discrimination efforts much like the one in Charlotte that North Carolina just stopped. “We probably haven’t seen something as sweeping as the Colorado amendment until now,” says Sarah Preston, acting executive director of the North Carolina office of the A.C.L.U.

Our Lieutenant Governor is a real piece of work.  Nice to see him and his facile foolishness get called out in the NYT.  We’ll have to wait and see what the courts decide, but the Constitutional case against this law seems fairly strong and clear.  The political case even more so.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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