In a statement released last week, the European Union (EU) blasted anti-LGBT laws in North Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi.
The statement reads:
“The recently adopted laws including in the states of Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee, which discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in the United States contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the US is a State party, and which states that the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection.
As a consequence, cultural, traditional or religious values cannot be invoked to justify any form of discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTI persons. These laws should be reconsidered as soon as possible.
The European Union reaffirms its commitment to the equality and dignity of all human beings irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity. We will continue to work to end all forms of discrimination and to counter attempts to embed or enhance discrimination wherever it occurs around the world."
On March 23, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law HB2 - an outrageous and unprecedented anti-LGBT law that eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and living wage ordinances and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. The legislation also forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity, putting $4.5 billion in federal education funding alone at risk, and compelling the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, convention centers, and airports. Further, it gutted the existing ability of people who have been discriminated against - including on the basis of race, religion, and sex - to sue in state court, undermining critical discrimination protections for all.
On April 5, 2016, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law H.B. 1523, "The Religious Liberty Accommodations Act." More than 75 major national corporations and businesses have spoken out against the horrific measure, that would allow individuals, religious organizations and private associations to use religion to discriminate against LGBT Mississippians in some of the most important aspects of their lives, including at work, at schools, and in their communities.
On April 28, Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a mean-spirited anti-LGBT bill. The "Counseling Discrimination Bill," SB 1556, allows licensed counselors in private practice to use personal or religious beliefs as an excuse to terminate care or refer away LGBT clients, as long as they refer the client to another counselor.
The EU is not the only international body speaking out against these anti-LGBT laws. Last month, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office warned its LGBT citizens of the risks of traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi.