The European Union spoke out against North Carolina's anti-LGBT House Bill 2 this week, saying that it should "be reconsidered as soon as possible."
In a statement released this week, the European Union singled out North Carolina's HB 2, as well as the anti-LGBT laws that have passed in states such as Tennessee and Mississippi recently. The European Union said that those states "are violating an international agreement on civil rights," reports The News & Observer.
HB 2 requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that do not match their gender identity. The law, introduced and signed into law in less than 12 hours on March 23, also rescinds all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances, prohibits new ones, and bars residents from suing for discrimination in state court.
Catherine Ray, a spokeswoman for the Union, wrote in a statement posted on the European Union's website that anti-LGBT laws "discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons" and "contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the U.S. is a state party, and which states that the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection."
The covenant that Ray is referring to was established in 1966 by the United Nations General Assembly. According to the U.S. Constitution, "international treaties have the same authority as federal law," reports the Observer. The treaty does not specify sexual orientation or gender identity among the categories protected from discrimination, reports the Observer.
The treaty asks that countries “guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
The statement from the European Union posted online said that "traditional or religious values" should not be used to "justify any form of discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTI persons. These laws should be reconsidered as soon as possible.”
The European Union announced their support of the LGBT community in the statement, writing, "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."
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's campaign spokesman, Ricky Diaz, took no offense with the European Union's statement.
“We relinquished our adherence to the British crown and European powers over 200 years ago,” Diaz, reports the Observer. “The law is now in federal court, where it will be resolved.”
N.C. Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse told the Observer that the European Union's statement was “absolutely no surprise since North Carolina Democrats led by Roy Cooper want to install European socialist policies ... that are an affront to the common sense traditions of North Carolina and America.”
In April, the U.K. issued a travel warning to British tourists, suggesting that they reconsider visiting Southern states such as North Carolina or Mississippi because the states passed anti-LGBT laws.
President Obama responded to the travel warning soon after, saying that anti-LGBT laws are "wrong" and "should be overturned." He assured the British that they are welcome to visit North Carolina and Mississippi.
The Obama administration has taken additional steps this week to promote civil rights for transgender people. The federal government announced that it is suing North Carolina over HB 2 on Monday, just hours after Gov. Pat McCrory announced his own federal suit against the Department of Justice for threatening the state's federal funding because HB 2 violates existing civil rights protections against discrimination based on sex in employment and education. The federal government announced on Wednesday that it would not be withholding federal funds from North Carolina while the legal battle wages on.