However, this has not dissuaded states from pursuing so-called “bathroom bills” of their own.
Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and Virginia are all proposing legislation which would require transgender people to use the public bathrooms that correspond with their biological sex, regardless of gender identity.
Alabama’s version of the bill proposes that multi-sex, public restrooms are assigned bathroom “attendants.”
Virginia’s Physical Privacy Act, proposed by state delegate Bob Marshall, requires schools to inform parents of transgender students if their child attempts to use their non-biological sex bathroom.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement that state proposals are logical.
“This legislation codifies what has been common practice in Texas and everywhere else forever — that men and women should use separate, designated bathrooms,” he said. “This issue is not about discrimination — it’s about public safety, protecting businesses and common sense.”
Tara Borelli, an attorney with Lambda Legal, is optimistic that other states will learn from North Carolina’s situation and reject the bill proposals.
Borelli said, nationwide, only two laws restrictive of transgender rights were passed last year — House Bill 2 in North Carolina and Mississippi’s House Bill 1523, which was later deemed unconstitutional by a federal court.
“States will pay a terrible price for singling out a vulnerable minority group with no justification or basis whatsoever,” Borelli said. “And when a state does that, it’s very unlikely to survive legal review. I think a lot of states are getting that memo.”
James Miller, executive director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh, said convincing legislators that “bathroom bills” hurt the local economy may be the best argument.
“Other states need to capitalize on the business argument that N.C. has put forward,” he said in an email.
Borelli is eager to see how the new presidential administration addresses LGBT rights.
“President-elect Donald Trump spoke at the (Republican National) Convention about equality for LGBT people,” she said. “It is our sincere hope that he makes good on that commitment.”
In December, a deal to repeal House Bill 2 fell through in the state legislature. But Rep. Andy Dulin, R-Mecklenburg, has seen state congressional opinion of the law vary across different communities.
“There is a divide between rural and urban areas that is undeniable,” Dulin said. “Hopefully, calm heads will get together next Wednesday and make decisions that will allow us to continue being a great state.”