The article is written by Nancy Chaturvedi of Jagran Lakecity University, and curated by Himanshu Raj of Chanakya National Law University, Patna.
LGBTQ unmarried, dating couples demanded for same protection from domestic violence as provided to those people who are in heterosexual relationship in North Carolina. According to a report of American Civil Liberties Union the state is hindmost in the whole country to restrict the same-sex couples into some secure legal immunity in defence of domestic violence.
In the case of M.V v. T.J the court ruled that according to the North Caroline law at issue Chapter 50B of North Carolina General Statues only heterosexual couples can claim protection against domestic violence. The law defines the “personal relationship “as heterosexual relationship. In opinion of the state Chapter 50 B held no legitimate, important, or substantial government interest in denying equal protection against domestic violence to same-sex couples. The court ruled that the fundamental rights to personal liberty and safety and in addition to it the Equal Protection clause of 14th amendment is violated. Chief Justice Linda McGee addressing the majority wrote, “Instead, by denying Plaintiff and similarly situated people the protections it provides victims of domestic violence in ‘opposite-sex’ dating relationships, runs directly counter to the promotion of the public good, welfare, morals, safety, and any other legitimate public interests of the State”.
The case began in 2018 when a North Carolina woman filed for a domestic violence protection appeal from a woman whom she was dating and the relationship just ended .M.E’s former partner did not respond to her decision and replied in a manner according to her testimony wherein she filed protection order under 50B, in her protection she wanted her partner to surrender the gun of which her former partner had possession of from her (partner) parents gun collection. A trial Judge refused her appeal stating that 50 B only allows protection to same-sex couples. The judge suggested that she could seek a civil no contract order under Chapter 50 C but that does not restrict the defendant to surrender arms or restrict him from buying new ones. Irena Coma senior staff attorney for the ACLU of the North Carolina representing M.E pointed out that people in same-sex relationship are considered downgrade due to their LGBTQ status.
The plaintiff M.E stated that this sort of discrimination should not have been present in the first place and now that it is considered she is happy with the decision of court. She also said that she is hopeful that the ruling will help out those people who are in tough situation.
The landmark case of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia which granted protection from employment discrimination to LGBTQ under Civil Rights Act was cited by the North Carolina Court of Appeal. Referring to Justice Neil Grouch’s analysis the court established that discrimination based on LGBTQ status is discrimination on ‘sex’ or ‘gender’. Coma in one of its argument stated that it is a pure discrimination based on sex had it been M.E dating a man, M.E would not have subjected to such discrimination.
Furthermore when the Chapter 50 B was extended to same sex couples also the question that arose was whether statues that protect women specifically from men still hold or not. The most pertinent case of prejudice was House Bill 2 in 2016 that made it unlawful for cities to permit those who had not surgically or legitimately changed the gender on their birth certificate to use the public bathroom for the gender that they identify. Addition to this a crucial loss for the LGBTQ+ community in North Carolina, it was a deprivation for North Carolina as it contradicted protection to an endangered group of citizens. Meanwhile, “House Bill 2” was revoked in 2017, some anti-discrimination ordinances still remain in place in North Carolina, which means that this prejudice may still be a part of North Carolina’s future.
North Carolina may be the last state to extend equal protection to same-sex relationships but it has each and every possibility to substitute that with a judgement from the Court of Appeals disprove the application of 50B to M.E. and broadened the right to a Chapter 50B protective order to parties in same-sex dating relationships in North Carolina. With this M.E covered an important spadework in the field of sexual discrimination and gender specification under state law.