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RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) is criticizing North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory for opposing a Virginia transgender male student’s challenge to his high school’s discriminatory bathroom policy that segregates transgender students from their peers. Gov. McCrory has said he will sign on to a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, that is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 

“It’s shameful that Gov. McCrory has gone out of his way to launch a mean-spirited political attack on such vulnerable students,” said Sarah Preston, the ACLU-NC’s acting Executive Director. “Students who are transgender should be treated with respect and compassion – not discriminated against because of who they are. The ACLU stands up for the rights of all students to be free from discrimination, and we urge Gov. McCrory to rethink his misguided political attack on transgender youth.”     

In 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board for adopting a discriminatory bathroom policy that effectively expels trans students from communal restrooms and requires them to use “alternative private” restroom facilities


RICHMOND, VA – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hold oral arguments on January 27 in the appeal of a federal court ruling that found the county commissioners of Rowan County, North Carolina, violated the Constitution when they coerced public participation in prayers that overwhelmingly advanced beliefs specific to one religion.

“Residents should be able to attend and participate in local government meetings without being subjected to religious coercion or the fear that government officials may discriminate against them because they hold different beliefs,” said Chris Brook, Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina Legal Foundation. “We look forward to presenting our case to the Fourth Circuit in order to ensure that local government meetings in Rowan County are welcoming to all community members.”

The ACLU-NC Legal Foundation and national ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief filed a lawsuit challenging the commissioners’ coercive prayer practice in March 2013 on behalf of Rowan County residents Nan Lund, Robert Voelker, and Liesa Montag-Siegel. Between 2007 and 2013, more than 97 percent of the prayers delivered by commissioners before public meetings were specific to one religion, Christianity. In May 2015, a federal district court ruled the practice unconstitutional and ordered the commissioners to cease opening their meetings with prayers that coerced public participation and had the effect of discriminating against religious minorities in the community.


LAKE LURE, N.C. – Lake Lure Classical Academy (LLCA) should promptly rescind its ban on all student-led noncurricular groups, including an LGBTQ+ student organization that was recently formed to promote tolerance and equality for all students, according to a letter sent today by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF)  to school officials.

At its November 12 meeting, the LLCA Board of Directors voted to suspend all student-run clubs after some community members challenged the new LGBTQ+ club. In today’s letter, ACLU-NCLF Legal Director Chris Brook explains that the federal Equal Access Act forbids schools from permitting some student groups while barring others. LLCA has a history of allowing noncurricular students organizations, including a campus Christian organization, Raptors for Christ, that has met on campus for five years.

“The LGBTQ+ club does not seek special treatment,” Brook writes in the letter. “They simply seek to be treated the same as other student groups on campus, a right guaranteed to them by the Equal Access Act.”


CHARLOTTE – A constitutionally suspect proposal that would create “exclusion zones” to ban people who have been arrested from entering certain Charlotte neighborhoods will be discussed by the city’s Community Safety Committee tomorrow, Wednesday, November 18.

“While we have not yet seen a written proposal, the details that have been put forward are extremely  problematic and would almost certainly violate the constitutional rights of a huge number of Charlotteans,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “People should not have to obtain permission from the government to go to work or visit their relatives. We are watching this conversation very closely, and we urge Charlotte officials to abandon their pursuit of such a constitutionally suspect proposal.”      

Read the ACLU of North Carolina's letter expresssing concerns about the proposal to Charlotte's Community Safety Committee here.