North Carolina lawmakers passed legislation on Wednesday that would prevent classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for some public school students, a move decried by opponents as harmful to LGBTQ youth.
The Parents Bill of Rights, a broad piece of legislation that opponents say mirrors the Florida's so-called Don't Say Gay bill, cleared the state's Republican-led Senate and will go to the House of Representatives, which has a Republican majority.
It could be handed over to Governor Roy Cooper as soon as this week. Cooper, a Democrat, has spoken against the bill and is certain that he will veto it.
Advocates and civil rights groups have been tracking hundreds of bills this year in state legislatures that targeted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including many that targeted transgender youth specifically.
Florida doesn't say a gay bill was signed into law in March. In April, the governor of Alabama enacted a bill prohibiting classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grades, and similar measures are being considered in Louisiana and Ohio.
The North Carolina measure would prohibit the use of sexual orientation or gender identity in curricula for students from kindergarten to third grade. The schools would have to notify parents if a student wanted to be addressed by a different name or pronoun.
Supporters of the Republican-sponsored measure say it would allow more involvement of parents in their children's education and well-being.
The legislation was opposed by those who were opposed to it, and warned it could result in youth being outed to their families. If enacted, critics say it will put an unnecessary burden on teachers and create a more hostile school environment for LGBTQ children who already face marginalization and are at greater risk of suicide.
We're disappointed but not surprised. The ACLU North Carolina chapter said on Twitter that they will continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQ youth.
Shortly after senators cast their votes, opponents of the measure erupted in the gallery chanting We're here, we're queer, we're not going anywhere.