What does the Constitution Really Say about Gay Rights?

ConstitutionIt was a period of peace and relief for the LGBT people in Charlotte after this city outlawed LGBT discrimination last February (2016). That peace, however, was short-lived as North Carolina’s State governor and legislature passed and signed into law (just in one day) what many now consider as the most extreme anti-LGBT measure ever legalized in the country.

North Carolina’s new law has two parts: use of public restroom based on one’s biological gender (not on one’s preferred gender identity); and, prohibition on any local government to create any (new) anti-discrimination law (like the one Charlotte passed).

North Carolina is the third state (in the last five years) to prohibit local anti-discrimination laws. While many see this move as a counterattack in the latest battle over gay rights, it is this conservative State’s way of response to liberal cities that pass laws in protection of the LGBT people.

Can this move lead to questions about constitutionality?

Barely a week after North Carolina signed its new law, it has already been met with much criticism from various businesses and organizations. Besides a lawsuit filed by Equality North Carolina, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Lambda Legal, wherein the State is accused of violating the US Constitution’s stipulations regarding equal treatment, as many as 120 company executives have also signed a letter which criticizes the law and seeks its repeal; the States of Connecticut, New York, Washington as well as other cities have also banned government-connected travels to North Carolina as an expression of their opposition to the law.

The law, however, is not without supporters. One of these is the Liberty Council, a Christian legal aid group, which has offered to defend the State against the lawsuit (Liberty Council represented the Kentucky court clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples the previous year).
Apparently, North Carolina’s law is testing the limits of the US Constitution. But while the 14th Amendment promises equal protection under the law, the Supreme Court remains vague with regard to what this promise means for the LGBT community.

Many legal professionals believe that the case against North Carolina will definitely be a tough one to litigate; however, many also believe that it may force the Supreme Court to answer what the Constitution really says about gay rights.

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