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On Display: "ACLU of North Carolina: Fifty Years of Protecting Liberty"
Date: Now through Nov. 30
Location: Chapel Hill

UNCA Chapter: Free Film Screening
Date: October 29
Location: Asheville

Wake County Chapter: W. W. Finlator Awards
Date: November 10
Location: Raleigh

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By Mike Meno, ACLU-NC Communications Director

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday that it would appeal a judge’s decision to dismiss charges of discriminatory profiling and other civil rights abuses filed against Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson (pictured).

A 2012 lawsuit brought by the federal government charged that under Johnson’s command, the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office systematically and unlawfully targeted Latino residents for investigation, traffic stops, arrests, seizures, and other enforcement actions. During the trial held earlier this year, experts testified that Johnson’s deputies were approximately 4, 9, and 10 times more likely, respectively, to stop Latino drivers than similarly situated non-Latino drivers along three major Alamance County highways.


Victory Protecting Local LGBT Nondiscrimination Laws

Posted on in LGBT Rights

Earlier this week, under cover of night, and less than 48 hours away from the close of the nine month legislative session, members of the General Assembly attempted—once again—to sanction discrimination against LGBT North Carolinians.  A provision negotiated in secret by a group of appointed House and Senate members was inserted into SB 279, an unrelated bill on licensing requirements for counselors, and would have stripped local governments of their ability to pass ordinances protecting LGBT residents from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.  In the waning hours of the legislative session, the ACLU and our allies worked tirelessly to educate both members of the General Assembly and the public about the devastating discriminatory consequences of such a law.  A broad coalition that included civil rights groups, faith leaders, and local governments came together to stand up and fight—and today, we’re proud to tell you that we won!

The discriminatory provision was removed from the bill just after midnight last night sending the message loud and clear that the General Assembly has no business interfering in local decisions to enact anti-discrimination policies. To date, many communities across North Carolina—including  Buncombe, Durham, Mecklenburg, and Wake counties, and the cities of Asheville, Boone, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Charlotte, High Point and Raleigh—have passed ordinances protecting LGBT residents from discrimination, with popular local support.  Wake County is the newest addition to this list, having just amended its employee non-discrimination provisions to include LGBT protections earlier this month.  We supported that effort, and will continue to support local efforts while pushing for statewide protections as well.

We must all remain vigilant in the face of any future attempts to codify intolerance, but today, we hope you join us in celebrating this victory!

RALEIGH. – The North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill that would prohibit local governments from enacting measures to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender North Carolinians from discrimination in housing and public accommodations. SB 279 has many other troubling provisions, including one that would jeopardize comprehensive sex education in public schools and could lead to the return of abstinence-only education. The provisions to remove power from local governments weren’t made public until Monday night and could overturn many existing nondiscrimination ordinances across the state.  

“The General Assembly has no business interfering in local decisions to protect residents from discrimination,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “Many communities in North Carolina have passed these ordinances with popular local support in order to compete for the best jobs and show that they are inclusive and welcoming places. This shameful bill would remove that local control and hurt our state’s reputation by sending a message that North Carolina sanctions intolerance and discrimination.” 

On September 21, the Wake County Board of Commissioners voted to add lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals to those protected by the county’s employment nondiscrimination policies. Other state municipalities that have adopted LGBT nondiscrimination policies include Buncombe, Durham, and Mecklenburg counties, and the cities of Asheville, Boone, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Charlotte, High Point and Raleigh.


By Susanna Birdsong, ACLU-NC Policy Counsel

Today, HB 297—End Marketing/Sale Unborn Children Body Parts passed the House and heads to Governor Pat McCrory's desk.  If the governor signs the bill it will become law.

As you process that bill title, you’re probably asking important questions.  “Is this something that is actually happening?  Why do we need legislation like this?”  The short answer is no, this is not actually happening.  It is against federal law to sell fetal tissue, and there hasn’t been an instance of this law being broken—in North Carolina or any other state—that prompted this bill.  Rather, it is the product of recent attacks on Planned Parenthood, subsequent to the release of a series of videos made by antiabortion activists earlier this year.  Although the makers of the videos claim that they prove Planned Parenthood illegally profits from fetal tissue donation, inquiries in multiple states since the videos’ release have confirmed that this is decidedly not the case.  Despite this, measures have been introduced in Congress and in various state legislatures that aim to use the issue of fetal tissue donation to punish Planned Parenthood and further restrict women’s access to health care.  And sadly, North Carolina is no exception.