Jul 24, 2014
NC Charter School Bill Now Excludes Protections for Gay and Transgender Students
Raleigh, NC, July 24, 2014 — A charter school modification bill, Senate Bill 793, returned from a conference committee and passed the Senate today without specific protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students nor House language that would have kept the discrimination protections in line with various federal laws that include the LGBT community.
The Senate version now prevents charter schools from discriminating on the basis of “ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability.”
The House is scheduled to vote on the Senate version tomorrow.
Following the Senate vote, House Democrats held a press conference led by Rep. Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg), decrying the removal of protections for gay and transgender students and calling on Gov. Pat McCrory to also publicly oppose the measure.
Rep. Rick Glazier followed Cotham, telling media in attendance, "if we can't say we're going to protect all children, shame on us."
After several attempts by Democratic representatives to assert enumerated protections for gay and transgender charter school students, included efforts by Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe), and Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford), on June 26, 2014, Rep. Nathan Ramsey (R-Buncombe) asserted a non-discrimination amendment which would bar charter schools from discriminating against any student based on "any category protected under the United States Constitution or federal law." The bipartisan amendment passed 115-0, with vocal support from both Rep. Brandon and long-time supporter of LGBT rights, Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland).
While Ramsey's amendment itself lacked enumerated categories like "sexual orientation" or "gender identity," its protections drew from categories protected under current federal laws, which do include explicit classifications for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
North Carolina's charter school bill drew national attention in June when, during House debate, Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Wake) took objection to the addition of "sexual orientation" as a protected class for students, comparing it to "pedophila" and "masochism."