Comparisons to Jim Crow just became even more prescient.
Law enforcement agencies in North Carolina have been unable to explain how they will enforce the anti-transgender “bathroom bill” HB2 because they simply don’t know. It’s never been done before and the state legislature did not spell it out when they passed HB2 during a one-day special session.
Governor Pat McCrory now says discrimination will be enforced as “trespassing.”
“We’re using trespassing laws that we were using before House Bill 2, we’re using that now,” he told reporters at a ribbon cutting for a candy plant on Thursday, according to a video from North Carolina journalist Bryan Anderson. “But you know, it’s just basic privacy rights and that’s trespassing and we’ll continue to do that just like we were doing long before the Charlotte ordinance. So nothing’s really changed in that regard.”
Nothing has changed he says, except everything has.
There was no law on the books stating that transgender individuals will be arrested for “trespassing” in the restroom before Governor McCrory signed it into law, but it’s not actually clear if there is right now despite what the governor says.
I am not fluent in North Carolina law, but local police departments are. You may recall that local enforcement agencies and district attorneys in North Carolina have previously said that HB2 did not include criminal penalties for someone who violates the law so, even if they received a complaint about someone using the “wrong” restroom, there’s no statute stating what their punishment should be.
Governor McCrory might say the law will be enforced as trespassing, but unless he’s aware of a section of the law that local law enforcement is not, it looks like he just pulled that out of his ass. We already have laws on the books against lewdness, exposure, and assault. We also have laws against trespassing, but unless they were amended to include gender identity I don’t think the governor knows what the fuck he’s talking about.
It was already fairly clear how the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals will rule once the case lands in their courtroom, but this really seals the deal. There is no chance in hell this is constitutional and state arguments against it will crumble under the slightest glance of scrutiny.