North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) this week said that the state will enforce HB2, the law passed in March that keeps transgender people from using the public bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, like trespassing law.
“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.”
According to @PatMcCroryNC, #HB2 is being enforced as a “trespassing law.” #ncgov #ncpol pic.twitter.com/3Tkj8VD3oS
— Bryan Anderson (@bryanranderson) May 26, 2016
When McCrory first signed the sweeping anti-LGBT bill into law, schools and cities were left confused about how the law would impact them since text of the law did not offer any guidance on how the law should be enforced.
In addition to the provision regarding bathrooms, HB2 keeps local governments from passing non-discrimination ordinances to protect LGBT people and eliminates the ability for people to sue in state court if they feel they were fired discriminatorily.
Shortly after the legislation was signed into law, police departments contacted by Mother Jones said that they would not be patrolling bathrooms or checking birth certificates.
“That’s a very interesting question. We don’t have police officers sitting at public bathrooms all day long,” a spokesman for the Raleigh police department told Mother Jones when asked about enforcement in April.
And Damien Graham, a spokesman for the Raleigh police department told NPR earlier in May that the department is unable to enforce the law.
“If we get a complaint, we will respond to that complaint just as we would any other complaint, but we wouldn’t have a means of penalizing someone,” Graham said. “We couldn’t arrest someone, for example, for using potentially the wrong restroom.”
NPR reached out to several police departments across the state, and the 10 that responded said they haven’t received any complaints about people using the wrong bathroom.
And the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department recently told the Charlotte Observer that the law “does not provide for any criminal sanction or other legal remedy for a violation.” Spokesman Rob Tufano added that businesses can establish their own policies.
“In either case, CMPD’s role will be limited to enforcing indecent exposure, trespassing, and other criminal laws, he said.