The Latest: Police: 11 LGBT law protesters arrested

AP News
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Posted: May 16, 2016 6:20 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on developments surrounding North Carolina's LGBT law (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

Nearly a dozen protesters of a new law limiting LGBT protections have been arrested inside North Carolina's Legislative Building when police say they refused to leave the office of the House clerk.

The demonstrators entered late Monday afternoon inside the office of Principal Clerk Denise Weeks and demanded a meeting with a legislative leader. They were among hundreds of people who entered the building in protest of the new law, which also directs transgender people to use public bathrooms aligned with the sex on their birth certificate.

General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock says those inside the clerk's office wouldn't leave the office despite multiple warnings. Brock says 11 would be charged with second-degree trespassing and violating building rules, which prohibit visitors from disturbing workers performing duties.

Fifty-four opponents of what's known as House Bill 2 were arrested on the first day of the legislative session three weeks ago.

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5:20 p.m.

Opponents of the new state law limiting protections for LGBT people using public bathrooms have marched into the North Carolina Legislative Building to begin a second series of symbolic sit-ins.

Hundreds of protesters, led by civic leaders and the Rev. William Barber of the NAACP, gathered Monday to push back against the law and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's support of it.

Representatives from Freedom Center for Social Justice, local synagogues and the activist organization Raging Grannies called for action before guiding the crowd into the Legislative Building where Barber said dozens expected to be arrested.

A similar rally held on the first day of the General Assembly session three weeks ago was nearly double in size and ended with 54 arrests of people who refused to leave the building or Speaker Tim Moore's office.

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2:30 p.m.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who opposed a transgender bathroom bill in the Tennessee Legislature, is speaking out against a directive by President Barack Obama's administration that public schools must allow students to use facilities consistent with their gender identity.

Haslam said in a statement Monday that he disagrees with what he called a "heavy-handed approach." The governor said such sensitive issues should be handled by local school boards — and not by the state or the federal government.

The Tennessee bill seeking to require students to use restrooms and locker rooms corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificates was withdrawn before the end of the legislative session last month to allow legal challenges to play out in other states that have passed similar measures.

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1:15 p.m.

Opponents of a North Carolina law limiting transgender rights say it should be repealed in part because it also reinforces a prohibition on cities and counties raising the minimum wage, which they say hurts women trying to support their families.

Representative of several organizations and lawmakers held a news conference Monday to draw attention to the wide-ranging law.

The most contentious part of the law requires transgender people to use public bathrooms aligned with their biological sex.

Monica Johnson Hostler with the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault said supporters of the law are wrong when they say restrictions will protect women and children against sexual violence.

The organizations planned to hold similar "repeal HB 2" news conferences in other parts of the state.

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12:45 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union wants a federal judge to keep authorities from enforcing North Carolina's law requiring transgender people to use public restrooms and showers corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate.

The group made that request in court papers filed Monday. The ACLU's lawsuit is one of several challenging the legislation, passed in reaction to a Charlotte ordinance allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

Gov. Pat McCrory sued the U.S. Justice Department last week, arguing that the state law is a "commonsense privacy policy" and that the Justice Department's position is "baseless and blatant overreach."

The government responded with its own lawsuit, saying the law amounts to "state-sponsored discrimination" and is aimed at "a problem that doesn't exist." The Justice Department is also seeking a court order declaring the law discriminatory and unenforceable.

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4 a.m.

Opponents of the North Carolina's new law preventing local governments from passing LGBT anti-discrimination protections and directing which bathrooms transgender people can use are getting together in Raleigh to push for its repeal.

The Forward Together movement led by the state NAACP scheduled a rally late Monday between the Legislative Building and the old Capitol building where Gov. Pat McCrory keeps his office. Participants will talk about their proposals to expand protections and the need for a higher minimum wage.

A similar rally three weeks ago at the opening of the General Assembly's annual work session ended with the arrests of more than 50 people inside the Legislative Building. Authorities say those arrested refused to leave the building or Speaker Tim Moore's office in protest of the law.