Amidst the controversy surrounding the recent “bathroom bill” in North Carolina, Mumford & Sons have decided to donate profits to support the local LGBTQ community.
On February 22, the Charlotte, N.C. city council approved amendments to the city’s discrimination ordinances in order to add “marital and familial status, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity to the list of protected characteristics.” With the 7-4 vote in favor of the amendments, the city made it so businesses, vehicles for hire and the like are “prohibited from discriminating based on any protected characteristic.” It was to go into effect on April 1.
The passing of the amendments was noted by the North Carolina General Assembly who organized a special session on March 23 leading to the passing of House Bill 2, or, the “bathroom bill.” The special session, as noted by WUNC–North Carolina Public Radio–was the first time the state had called for one in 35 years. The bill reversed and effectively nullified the ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council the previous month.
The Charlotte change allowed for all persons to have equal right to use public facilities without fear of discrimination. The new legislature, signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory the same night the session was held, removed the ability for local communities to create their own ordinances. The law, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, House Bill 2 (HB2) or the “bathroom bill,” made it “illegal for cities to expand upon [the] state laws” that expanded protection for the LGBTQ communities.
According to the Charlotte Observer, the new law set a statewide description on who are protected from discrimination. Those protected include: “race, religion, color, national origin, age, handicap or biological sex as designated on a person’s birth certificate.” That language, under interpretation, shows the lack of acceptance for sexual orientation and transgender who “have not taken surgical and legal steps to change the gender noted on their birth certificates” weren’t considered when the legislature was written.
During the special session’s deliberation, NPR notes the word “bathroom” was used most. The points made during the session were those of people hoping to have the assembly understand where each side of the argument lies. One argument for the law was in order to prevent “sexual predators,” as one attendee noted. Another against the passing of the new law said the problem was with “forcing trans people to use the bathroom of the opposite gender that [could prove to be] dangerous.”
“If I were to walk into a men’s bathroom, I would either be told that I’m in the wrong bathroom or I’d be outed as a transgender woman,” Charlotte resident Lara Nazario said to NPR. “This can often lead to violence or harassment, especially when there’s no protection in place for people like me.”
Though private businesses have the ability to determine their own regulations without government interference, it still isn’t enough to support those who are left out.
The subsequent passing of the controversial law has not come without backlash from the community and those in the music world.
Other than various companies avoiding business in the state, numerous artists recently began to cancel tour stops in the state. Two of the most notable to cancel their tour stops are Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr.
In a statement on his website, Springsteen noted the new law as being a violation of human rights.
Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.
That being said, Springsteen cancelled his April 10 tour stop in Greensboro, N.C.
Joining him with a cancellation is Starr, who also released a statement regarding the matter. With the cancellation of his June 18 tour stop in Cary, N.C., Starr said he’s “sorry to disappoint [his] fans in the area.” The statement adds that Starr asks for support for all of the organizations “that are fighting to overturn” the law in any way possible.
MUMFORD & SONS GIVE BACK
Rather than cancel their Charlotte tour stop last night, British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons decided to, instead, turn their show into a charitable opportunity.
In a post to their Facebook page yesterday afternoon, the band wrote that they wanted to “take a stand with the people of North Carolina” and, in doing so, decided to donate all of their profits from the show to a local LGBTQ organization.
The move shows the band’s solidarity with the people of North Carolina. Though the organization had not been named at the time of writing, it was an effort that was appreciated by the fans of the group and patrons of the show.