The so called ‘bathroom law’ in North Carolina (otherwise known as HB2) has hit the headlines of late on this side of the pond, but state’s-side  a battle is shaping up across America over various pieces of legislation at state level that proponents argue protects religious beliefs while others argue are tools to discriminate.

Despite the ferocious attention paid to newly passed laws in Mississippi and North Carolina, nearly 200 bills have been proposed in legislatures in 2016 alone that could lead to discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

For a good brief overview (including explanatory links and abc footage) see: http://abcnews.go.com/US/reason-north-carolinas-anti-lgbt-law-spotlight-now/story?id=38306934

Alternatively CNN have some good insights on: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/06/us/nationwide-bill-religious-freedom-sexual-orientation/

Keep your eyes on this issue (I reckon the courts will have more to say soon!) these state laws are useful examples for various topics for all you band three grade hunters… For example:

  • Unit 3 Political Parties – Given all these laws are fostered and overwhelmingly supported by Republican politicians’ laws like HB2 are now really useful and clear examples of policy differences between the two main parties.
  • Unit 3 Pressure Groups – As the clips here demonstrate, these controversial laws/bills are a magnet for interest groups of all stripes to get involved.
  • Unit 3 Racial and Ethnic Politics – These laws inherently effect minority groups and seem to run contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment.*
  • Unit 4 The Constitution – The constitutional rights of states and central government are at play here too, as is the notion of the separation of powers.
  • Unit 4 Supreme Court – *At state level the courts are already involved in these controversial laws, it is inevitable that they will continue to be a subject for federal Supreme Court evaluation too going forward.
  • Unit 4 Federalism – States are now seen by many advocacy groups (eg. religious & social conservatives) as a better means to challenge aspects of American law that are deemed unpopular than at D.C level, which again makes these laws/examples very applicable to this topic too.

… So, plenty to get your teeth into. You don’t have to be experts on these type of state level laws, but these two links will give you a quick and easy overview to bandy them around across a whole range of topics should the need arise. Go to it!

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