The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
On March 23, 2016 the North Carolina legislature considered and passed HB 2, which was signed by Governor McCrory within the same 24 hours. HB 2 nullifies municipal and local laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, and requires people to use the bathrooms and other facilities that align with the gender assigned to them at birth -- directly targeting transgender and gender-nonconforming people. On April 5, RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner sent the below letter to Governor McCrory, urging him to repeal this discriminatory law. On April 12, Governor McCrory issued an executive order that, while protecting LGBT people from discrimination in public jobs, does not change the main provisions of HB 2. Learn more about NFTY-MAR and NFTY-SAR's response to HB 2.
April 5, 2016
Governor Pat McCrory
116 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
Dear Governor McCrory,
On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose over 900 congregations encompass 1.5 million Jews across North America, including almost 18,000 congregants in our 17 North Carolina synagogues, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, which represents over 2,000 Reform rabbis, we write to you in strong opposition to HB2. This legislation puts lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) North Carolinians at risk for discrimination in almost all aspects of their lives.
We are especially concerned about provisions in HB 2 that directly target transgender and gender non-conforming people, particularly youth. Simply put, the issue of restrooms is being used to perpetuate a false narrative about a supposed threat posed by transgender people, particularly to women and girls’ safety. This untrue and harmful narrative should be rejected by North Carolina; laws already protect all individuals from criminal conduct in bathrooms. And studies repeatedly show that transgender individuals are likely to be the targets of harassment in the workplace and elsewhere. Indeed, according to a recent study, more than half of all transgender respondents reported being victims of harassment or disrespect in public places.
By eliminating previously existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals, and preventing similar provisions from being passed in the future, HB 2 states that LGBT North Carolinians do not deserve the same dignity and respect as other residents of your state. This false and morally reprehensible message defies the values, affirmed by the laws and Constitution, of our country and of the state of North Carolina.
Jewish tradition teaches that all human beings are created b’tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image (Genesis 1:27). Regardless of context, discrimination against any person arising from apathy, insensitivity, ignorance, fear or hatred is inconsistent with this fundamental belief. The stamp of the Divine is present in each and every one of us, and discrimination against any individual because of their gender identity or sexual orientation directly violates these values.
LGBT people deserve equality, not discrimination. We strongly urge you and the leadership of North Carolina’s legislature to repeal HB 2.
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism