NASW-NC Position on NC Anti-LGBT Law
Friday, March 25, 2016
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter is distressed the North Carolina legislature and governor have signed into law legislation that would discriminate against people who are LGBT. The chapter is committed to working with its allies in the legislature, coalition groups and its members to overturn this harmful legislation.
On March 23, 2016, the North Carolina General Assembly convened a one day special session to introduce one single bill that prevents local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances. This legislation was written behind closed doors by the Republican majority, made public around 10:30am and only allowed 30 minutes of public comment per the House and Senate committees addressing the bill. It was then signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory within four hours of receiving the legislation. The democratic process was clearly ignored during this session.
The law (House Bill 2) covers a number of policies that specifically require anti-LGBT discrimination or prevent the enforcement of protections against it, and that limits local government authority.
- All public agency restrooms, school restrooms and locker rooms that are not single-occupancy must be single-sex and must be limited based upon an individual’s “biological sex” as “is stated on a person’s birth certificate.”
- All local laws governing nondiscrimination practices in public accommodations and employee rights (minimum wages, overtime, benefits, etc.) in employment are preempted and superseded by state laws.
- Individuals cannot bring “any civil action” based upon the state’s employment or public accommodation nondiscrimination protections.
- Cities and counties are prohibited from writing non-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people or veterans.
Kay Castillo, NASW-NC Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation said, “The actions taken by the North Carolina General Assembly were done in a misleading attempt to cover up discrimination. Legislators misrepresented information on this issue to the public stating that this legislation was needed to stop child abuse and sexual assault from happening in public restrooms following a local ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council. This legislation discriminates and prevents cities and counties from putting protections in place for their citizens.”
According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, “Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, or mental or physical disability,” NASW Code of Ethics (2008).
Kathy Boyd NASW-NC Chapter Director said, “Social workers are expected to practice in a non-discriminatory way. Our NASW Code of Ethics is the core of our profession and such discrimination is inherently against our practice.”