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N.C. governor signs controversial transgender bill

By Shawn Price   |   March 24, 2016 at 4:50 AM

RALEIGH, N.C., March 24 (UPI) -- North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a controversial bill on Wednesday that would stop cities from letting transgender people use the bathroom of the gender they identify as, and also stop cities from generally being able to pass nondiscrimination laws.

The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act bans anyone from using a public bathroom not intended for their biological sex. It would also leave the ability to pass nondiscrimination laws almost entirely to the state.

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After signing the bill, McCrory, a Republican, tweeted, "Ordinance defied common sense, allowing men to use women's bathroom/locker room for instance. That's why I signed bipartisan bill to stop it."

The bill was mostly a rebuke to the city of Charlotte, after passing a bill that would allow transgender people to use the bathroom or locker room of the sex they identify with, instead of their biological sex.

"The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room ... was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte," McCrory said in a statement.

"While local municipalities have important priorities working to oversee police, fire, water and sewer, zoning, roads, and transit," McCrory continued, "the mayor and city council took action far out of its core responsibilities."

Civil liberty groups and state Democrats were outraged. Though the bill passed the state House 82-26 and state Senate 32-0, Senate Democrats walked out without voting in protest.

"Legislators have gone out of their way to stigmatize and marginalize transgender North Carolinians by pushing ugly and fundamentally untrue stereotypes that are based on fear and ignorance and not supported by the experiences of more than 200 cities with these protections," said Sarah Preston, acting executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina.

The bill goes into effect on April 1.

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