The Chair of the Democratic National Committee has slammed the passage of a law in North Carolina that permits discrimination against gay people.

This week the state of North Carolina has passed a law which voids all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, and permitting businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.

The new law also bans transgender students in public schools from using their preferred bathroom.

The bill passed the state Senate by a vote of 32-0 after all the Democrats walked out in protest – and the state’s Republican Governor Pat McCrory swiftly signed it into law.

US Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, hit out at the “Stone Age” law.

She said: “This is sadly unsurprising from a party that seems determined to stay stuck in the Stone Age on LGBT equality.

“From their refusal to accept marriage equality as the law of the land, to their disingenuous ‘free speech’ and ‘religious freedom’ justifications for discrimination, Republicans are hurting Americans who deserve the full and equal protection of the law. Now the same state lawmakers who pretend to love limited government are steamrolling over local officials just because they had the courage to stand up for transgender rights.

“Our friends in the LGBT community deserve better and so do all the people of North Carolina.”

Earl Fowlkes, chair of the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic National Committee, said: “While Republicans in DC refuse to do their job in confirming a Supreme Court justice, Republicans in North Carolina are calling a special session to repeal every local non-discrimination law protecting the LGBT community across the entire state.

2They’d rather spend the taxpayer’s money to take away the rights of North Carolina’s citizens than deal with the massive cuts to education they have also forced on families.”

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: “Governor McCrory’s reckless decision to sign this appalling legislation into law is a direct attack on the rights, well-being, and dignity of hundreds of thousands of LGBT North Carolinians and visitors to the state.

“This outrageous new law not only strips away the ability of local jurisdictions to protect LGBT people from discrimination, but it goes further and targets transgender students who deserve to be treated equally at school – not harassed and excluded.

“Governor McCrory’s action will be judged sorely by history and serve as a source of deep shame, remorse, and regret.

“North Carolinians throughout the state, business leaders, and those who believe in basic human dignity, fairness, and equality must stand up and demand that lawmakers repeal this new law before it inflicts tremendous damage on the state and thousands of citizens and visitors.”

Ryan Butler, chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party’s LGBT Caucus, said: “What we’re seeing here is a more extreme version of the radical ‘Right to Discriminate’ laws that have failed in other states like Indiana.

“Rather than requiring a ‘religious objection’ to discriminate, which is already bad enough, this wholesale repeal of all municipal non-discrimination laws in the entire state is a new low.

“This proposed bill gives businesses, like hotels and restaurants, a license to discriminate against gay and transgender people with total impunity. And that is simply wrong.”