Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio have found something they both can agree on. There’s been some bad blood between New York’s governor and New York City’s mayor in recent months, but on Monday, they both issued bans on nonessential government travel to North Carolina to protest the anti-LGBT measure rushed into law last week.
“In New York, we believe that all people — regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation — deserve the same rights and protections under the eyes of the law,” Cuomo said in a statement. “From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past. As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state.”
The governor and mayor issued similar travel bans last year when Indiana passed a law allowing businesses to refuse service to the LGBT community on religious grounds. Those bans were lifted when Indiana modified the law.
New York joins a growing list of governments and businesses opposed to the North Carolina law, which requires transgender people to use public facilities that match the sex on their birth certificates and blocks local municipalities from passing nondiscrimination ordinances. The mayors of San Francisco and Seattle have suspended travel to the state too, and the companies PayPal, IBM, Dow Chemical, Biogen, Apple, Google, and Facebook have all voiced their opposition to the law.
Claiming that the law is discriminatory, on Monday morning, three individuals, the ACLU of North Carolina, and Equality North Carolina filed a lawsuit challenging the law in federal court. “By singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, H.B. 2 violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution,” the suit argues.
North Carolina governor Pat McCrory dismissed the complaints as “political theater” and accused left-wing activists of a “calculated smear campaign,” claiming they’re blackmailing local businesses into opposing the law.
When asked about transgender people who say they do not feel safe using bathrooms that don’t match their gender identity, McCrory told NBC News, “You know, we all have to make adjustments in life. And we’ve had the proper etiquette situation for decades in our country, and all of a sudden through political correctness we’re throwing away basic etiquette.”
He added that he does “empathize” with transgender people, but said at the same time, “it doesn’t mean everyone else should have to compromise a well established etiquette of men in men’s restrooms and showers and locker rooms.”