Only One State Won't issue A Restraining Order In Cases Of Same-Sex Dating Abuse

In the entire United States, there’s only one state that doesn’t allow people in same-sex dating relationships to get a restraining order should the romance turn violent.

Anyone who becomes a victim of domestic violence can go to the police and file criminal charges in North Carolina.

But criminal cases can take time, and when there’s a greater sense of urgency, many opt for a restraining order - also known as a 50(B) protective order.

A restraining order can prohibit the alleged abuser from coming near the victim, force them to give up their guns or lose custody of their children.

Married people, straight or gay, can file for a restraining order. Divorced couples, as well as parents and children, have the legal option as well.

But in the Tar Heel state, when it comes to folks who are just dating, the state law on restraining orders only applies to “persons of the opposite sex.”

According to the NewsObserver, the loophole became news after a Wake County woman attempted to get a protective order against her ex-girlfriend last May.

At the time, the judge denied her request. The woman filed again a month later, and was rebuffed again thanks to the language of the law.

Now, the state Attorney General, Josh Stein, is working through the courts to have the law overturned.

Stein, a Democrat, filed a legal brief earlier this week saying the law is unconstitutional because it singles out LGBTQ people and denies them equal protection and due process under the law.

Gov. Roy Cooper, also a Democrat, agrees and has asked to join Stein’s efforts.

Additionally, LGBTQ advocacy group Equality NC has also filed a brief in support of Stein’s efforts.

In their ‘friend of the court’ filing, Equality NC writes that since “the threat of intimate partner violence does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, neither should the State in protecting individuals from such violence.”

“Otherwise, there is no constitutionally guaranteed ‘equal dignity in the eyes of the law’ for same-sex relationships,” the brief continues.

Stein has support from the ACLU of North Carolina as well as the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police.

The NewsObserver notes there are other legal options available to same-sex victims of abuse.

The woman who originally filed her request in May was eventually granted a 50(C) no-contact order. However, that kind of restraining order doesn’t give a judge the authority to revoke an alleged abuser’s right to own guns. 

The woman’s primary concern for protection was predicated on threats of physical violence from her former girlfriend as well as her access to guns.

(h/t NewsObserver Image via Facebook)

Netflix Says 'No' To North Carolina Over Anti-LGBTQ Laws

North Carolina just can’t get its act together regarding anti-LGBTQ laws.

And now, according to StarNewsOnline, the state may have just lost $60 million in revenue thanks to the inaction of state lawmakers to repeal those laws.

Streaming giant, Netflix, was looking to shoot a new series, OBX, in the Tar Heel state but balked thanks to HB 142.

The law, enacted in 2017 was meant to be a ‘fix’ on previous legislation HB 2, which marginalized transgender people by requiring them to use public bathrooms that align with the gender on their birth certificates.

HB 142 partially repealed HB 2, but left in place bans on local communities passing their own anti-discrimination laws through 2020.

Ten episodes of the new project have been ordered by Netflix, and Jonas Pate, who created the show, wanted to shoot in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina. But the ban on local municipalities enacting their own legislation is a sticking point for Netflix.

“This tiny law is costing this town 70 good, clean, pension-paying jobs and also sending a message to those people who can bring these jobs and more that North Carolina still doesn’t get it,” Pate said.

Pate added that the production is projected to spend in the neighborhood of $60 million in whatever state the series shoots.

Pate, and his brother Josh, have previously created the NBC series Surface, which was shot in Wilmington.

But this past weekend, Pate found himself scouting sections of Charleston, South Carolina, for the new production.

Freshman state Sen. Harper Peterson, a Democrat from Hanover, hopes to see the issue addressed this week as the state Assembly is in session. 

“That is a decision the legislature has to make and realize that it is one more opportunity we are losing if we don’t,” Peterson told StarNewsOnline. “We have to get back and be competitive with other states. It just hurts to see a production about North Carolina go to South Carolina.”

OBX is described as a coming-of-age story that follows four teens in the Outer Banks whose lives are changed when a hurricane cuts off all power to the islands.

“When these lifelines for teens like phones and Snapchat are gone, it really reorients the generational divisions,” says Pate.

(h/t StarNewsOnline)

Two Women Arrested For Sexually Assaulting Trans Woman In Public Bathroom

Two women have been charged with misdemeanor sexual battery and felony second-degree kidnapping after violently attacking a transgender woman in the ladies room of a downtown Raleigh bar.

According to the NewsObserver, Amber Nicole Harrell, 38, and Jessica Leann Fowler, 31, struck up what began as a ‘friendly conversation’ with the victim at Milk Bar on December 9. 

But the women reportedly became violent and grabbed the trans woman’s genitals asking if she had a penis.

The assault was reported the next day by a friend of the victim who called 911. 

A recording of the call, made public by the Raleigh Police Department, indicates the two women started laughing as they pulled up the victim’s shirt in an attempt to see her breasts. They also grabbed the victim’s buttocks as the victim repeatedly told them to stop.

The assault continued after the three left the ladies room as the women openly groped the victim’s stomach and buttocks. 

The bartender eventually told Fowler and Harrell to stop.

Harrell turned herself in to the police over the weekend and was released on $50,000 bail Monday morning.

Fowler turned herself in on Tuesday and is being held in the Wake County jail under a $30,000 bond.

In 2016, North Carolina state lawmakers passed HB2, an anti-LGBTQ law which prohibited transgender people from using public bathrooms which aligned with their gender identity unless they had changed the gender listed on their birth certificate.

The law was repealed a year later but replaced with HB142, which still did not ensure trans people would have access to public restrooms. Additionally, the new law left prohibitions in place that bans any local communities from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances.

It's a popular trope among anti-transgender activists that trans people are a threat in public bathrooms, but the facts show that trans people are the ones who are attacked in bathrooms, not the other way around. A 2016 study showed 60% of trans people avoid public bathrooms out of fear for personal safety.

To date, there is no record of any transgender person attacking a cisgender person in a public bathroom.


(h/t NewsObserver)

LGBTQ Advocates Panic As Apple Inc. Considers Building A Campus in Anti-LGBTQ Law Ridden North Carolina

Apple’s considering opening up a campus in North Carolina despite the anti-LGBTQ laws that it previously fought against.

In 2016, Apple joined 67 other companies in a legal challenge to fight North Carolina’s bathroom bill, HB2. In addition, many also stopped and withdrew business deals with the state that caused allegedly $3.7 billion in business losses.

The bill that started all of that controversy was set to ban transgender and gender nonconforming people from using any bathroom besides ones aligning with the sex assigned to them at birth.

Eventually that bill was repealed thanks to the help of new Democratic Governor Roy Cooper. That said, Copper had to compromise in order to take the bill down. That led to the agreement that no more anti-discrimination laws could be passed until 2020.

As Mashable reports though, we can’t thank Cooper entirely for protecting LGBTQ people in the state of North Carolina. Copper has also helped pass legislation that allows LGBTQ residents in the state to be fired from their jobs based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

With HB2 gone, some companies have returned to North Carolina and it looks like Apple might be one of them. Apple is currently just looking at coming back to North Carolina, but many are worried about what this move could mean.

Will Apple bring more positive change to the state or is it essentially selling out? We’ll see as time continues.

h/t: Mashable

A North Carolina Man Was Forcefully Arrested After Being Called Gay Slurs By Waffle House Employees

A man who was choked and slammed by a police officer outside a Waffle House says he was also called gay slurs by the staff.

News is circulating about 22-year-old Anthony Wall. Right now, everyone’s trying to figure out if race and sexual orientation was the cause of Wall’s arrest and if it even matters at all.

On May 4, Wall had arrived at a Waffle House in Warsaw, North Carolina. He had just gotten back from taking his little sister to her prom. The two, and an undisclosed amount of friends, tried to sit at an uncleared table, which allegedly riled up one of the employees.

"They sat down at the table, and note what the first statements were from the Waffle House employee," Wall’s lawyer Benjamin Crump said at a news conference. "It wasn't welcoming or inviting and almost so inappropriate I have problems even repeating [what] he told Anthony Wall, his little sister and others in his party."

Wall told the waiter, who was white, that he couldn’t speak to the group like that. The situation escalated from there to include another Waffle House employee who was notably black.

"You will see from the video evidence as well as other objective evidence that indicates it was the Waffle House employees who were the initial aggressors," he added. "The Waffle House were unprofessional to their customers. Waffle House employees used homophobic slurs to Anthony Wall."

Wall reports that at this time, he was called a “faggot” by one of the employees and was threatened that a physical fight would break out.

Wall also later stated that he was to blame, along with the Waffle House staff, for the escalation of the fight. 

That’s when the police showed up. Problem is that one officer’s way of dissolving the conflict was to rough up Wall. It got so bad that the officer grabbed onto Wall’s throat and chocked him.

"I was trying to get his arm off my throat to stop him from choking me," Wall said in the Monday press conference, "I was not trying to fight him at all."

One of Wall’s friends recorded the altercation with the police officer and it was later uploaded to Facebook.

Afterwards, Wall was placed in the officer’s car with a police dog allegedly snapping at him from the back seat. Once processed, Wall was charged with disorderly conduct in public as well as resisting, obstructing and delaying a law enforcement officer.

While the Waffle House says there will be an internal investigations to see if disciplinary actions are needed on their side (meaning they're looking into whether the employees incited the fight and used gay and racist slurs), the police and the mayor’s office state that they're sure race was not a factor in the actual arrest.

When asked to comment by NBC News, the Warsaw Police Chief Eric Southerland only stated that an officer can use physical force if someone is not complying.

In addition, A.J. Connors, the mayor of Warsaw who’s also a black man, said on Friday that the arrest, and it’s forcefulness, wasn’t based on race but rather based on a "young man who had broken the law, and a law enforcement officer arrested him."

h/t: NBC News