Ben Jealous Condemns North Carolina’s HB2 Anti-LGBTQ law; Urges UNC President Not To Enforce Law.

To paraphrase my mentor, the late Julian Bond, LGBTQ rights are human rights — and human rights are under attack here in the Tar Heel state.

Let me be quite clear: HB2 is anti-civil rights, anti-human rights and immoral. It is knowingly and deliberately manufactured to degrade and dehumanize people and to destroy their lives, particularly transgender people’s lives.

However, let us be very clear. HB2 does not just attack the human rights of LGBTQ people.

It is in fact a Trojan horse for a much broader anti-civil rights agenda that undermines the hard won rights of every working person, every woman, every person of color in this state.

In addition to creating the need for police who patrol our bathrooms to enforce this law, HB2:

* Guts core state anti-discrimination worker protections based on race, gender, age or disability, including the private right of action.

* Stops municipalities from selecting contractors that have higher standards than the state law for wages and benefits. Really, wow?

*North Carolina is the only state, bar Mississippi, to deny private sector employees protections from workplace discrimination.

I commend all the leaders from every sector of our society who have expressed their opposition to this law and have taken strong action to send a clear message about the values we all share.

All people of good conscience must oppose this law because silence will be interpreted as us consenting to a law that undermines the rights of every person in this state — by exploiting transphobia.

The state legislature and the Governor must act now to repeal this law.

If the state’s political leaders do not do so by April 21st, as local civil rights leaders have demanded, students, activists, and citizens of all ages should join Moral Monday Movement’s mass mobilization on April 25th.

And finally, to UNC President Margaret Spellings, I appreciate hearing that you are torn about enforcing this law. However, the negative impact that it has is already clear. Respectfully please do the right thing and refuse to enforce this law.

Nelson Mandela once said, “May your choices reflect your hope, not your fears.” We CAN and have turned fear into hope into great moral victories again and again in this country and in this region. Lets’ come together and do it again. Let’s repeal this law. Let’s do it now. Let’s throw HB2 — and the hate that generates it — into the trash can of history.

President, People For the American Way. Visiting Scholar, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. Former National President, NAACP.

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