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March 28, 2016 0

Lawsuit to Be Filed Challenging Broadest Anti-LGBT Law in the Nation

By David Barkey, Reli­gious Free­dom Counsel

 

Under the false and offen­sive pre­text of safety in bath­rooms, North Car­olina last week enacted the broad­est anti-LGBT law in the nation.  Adopted in a reck­less and inequitable man­ner, the new law not only sanc­tions dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT peo­ple, but under­mines the rights of vir­tu­ally all North Car­olini­ans.  Yes­ter­day, ACLU, Lamda Legal and Equal­ity North Car­olina announced that they will be fil­ing a fed­eral law­suit chal­leng­ing the statute.

In Feb­ru­ary 2016, the City of Char­lotte, NC added pro­tec­tions for the cat­e­gories of gen­der iden­tity and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion to its Non-Discrimination Ordi­nance.  In response, the State Leg­is­la­ture called a spe­cial ses­sion, cus­tom­ar­ily reserved for bud­get, nat­ural dis­as­ter or redis­trict­ing emer­gen­cies, to over­turn the amended Ordinance.

Flag_of_North_Carolina.svgWithin twenty-four hours, the leg­is­la­ture — with­out pub­lic hear­ings or input — hastily enacted sweep­ing leg­is­la­tion (House Bill 2) and the Gov­er­nor signed it into law.  It pro­hibits trans­gen­der peo­ple from using restrooms or chang­ing facil­i­ties in accor­dance with their gen­der iden­tity, which iron­i­cally will require trans­gen­der men to use women’s facil­i­ties. But the law did not stop there.

It pro­hibits local gov­ern­ment from adopt­ing any anti-discrimination pro­tec­tions for LGBT peo­ple.  Fur­ther­more, the law pro­hibits any North Car­olin­ian from fil­ing an anti-discrimination law­suit in state court, includ­ing a reli­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion claim.  It also bars local gov­ern­ments from rais­ing the min­i­mum wage or requir­ing con­trac­tors to pay a pre­vail­ing wage or to pro­vide ben­e­fits such as sick leave.

House Bill 2, and the process by which it was adopted, are dis­grace­ful.  The law con­veys the clear mes­sage that the major­ity of North Carolina’s state gov­ern­ment sanc­tions dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT peo­ple.  Undoubt­edly it will dam­age the State’s econ­omy, result in costly lit­i­ga­tion, and jeop­ar­dize fed­eral fund­ing for North Car­olina.  We are con­fi­dent that the court hear­ing the law­suit chal­leng­ing House Bill 2 will strike down this appalling and uncon­sti­tu­tional law if the leg­is­la­ture does not recon­sider and repeal it first.

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August 8, 2014 6

North Carolina Restaurant Discontinues Praying Customer Discount

Last week a North Car­olina diner’s reported four-year-old 15% cus­tomer dis­count for “pray­ing in pub­lic” before meals gained wide­spread atten­tion after a patron’s receipt show­ing the rebate was posted on Face­book.  This atten­tion was also the discount’s demise.  After mul­ti­ple news reports appeared, com­men­ta­tors and orga­ni­za­tions began spec­u­lat­ing that the prac­tice was ille­gal, and the diner ended the discount. north-carolina-restaurant-discount

Fed­eral pub­lic accom­mo­da­tion laws, which cover restau­rants and din­ers, pro­hibit unequal treat­ment of cus­tomers in the enjoy­ment of goods and ser­vices based on reli­gion, as well as on race, color, or nation ori­gin.  The dis­count may have vio­lated the law because it effec­tively favored reli­gious cus­tomers over non-believers or other cus­tomers who — for what­ever rea­son — choose not to pray in public.

The mar­ket­place brings together Amer­i­cans of all races, reli­gions and back­grounds.  In addi­tion to likely being ille­gal, com­mer­cial dis­counts based on reli­gious prac­tices are divi­sive, anti­thet­i­cal to our plu­ral­is­tic soci­ety, and sim­ply an ill-advised busi­ness prac­tice.  The diner did the right thing in dis­con­tin­u­ing the dis­count it was offering.

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June 25, 2014 0

King Samir Shabazz Said To Be Arrested On “Gun Related Charges”

New Black Pan­ther Party (NBPP) National Field Mar­shall King Samir Shabazz was arrested “on alleged pro­ba­tion vio­la­tions and gun related charges” accord­ing to for­mer NBPP leader Malik Zulu Shabazz.samir-shabazz-arrested-new-black-panther-malik

While the details of his reported arrest are still unclear, Samir Shabazz was pre­vi­ously arrested in June 2013 in New York for car­ry­ing a loaded, unli­censed firearm and ille­gally wear­ing body armor.

In an online radio inter­view on June 17, Shabazz, whose for­mer name is Maruse Heath, announced that on July 5 he would be speak­ing in Char­lotte, North Car­olina, and that he intends to start a Char­lotte chap­ter of the NBPP.

In the same inter­view, Shabazz ranted about the “damn lying bas­tard, the white man,” stat­ing, “I don’t plan on com­mit­ting no damn sui­cide. Damn it, I’m prepar­ing for some homi­cide, on my enemy.”

Such vio­lent rhetoric is noth­ing new for Shabazz, who pub­licly stated that NBPP mem­bers should press their uni­forms so the crease could “cut that cracker’s throat in half and watch his head roll down the street.”

In an August 2012 NBPP online radio broad­cast, he went on a vicious tirade describ­ing white nurs­eries and churches as legit­i­mate tar­gets for bomb­ing stat­ing “You’re going to have to go into the God damn nurs­ery and just throw a damn bomb in the damn nurs­ery and just kill every­thing white in sight that ain’t right,” and “Well we gonna throw a bomb in that God damn church, burn up the cracker, burn up the cracker Jesus, and burn up some cracker white supremacy.”

In 2009, Shabazz was impli­cated in a U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice suit after a voter intim­i­da­tion inci­dent while he was head of the NBPP’s Philadel­phia chap­ter. Addi­tion­ally, he was arrested and released in 2008 for dis­or­derly con­duct after he and oth­ers inter­rupted a rally in Atlantic City.

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