The final version of a highly-debated North Carolina law banning the interpretation of foreign law in domestic and child abuse cases has been approved by the state's lawmakers and now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory for final approval.
House Bill 522, entitled "Foreign Law/Protect Constitutional Rights," passed the state's House by a 75-37 vote Wednesday evening, and passed the state's Senate last Friday with a 31-2 vote.
The text of the bill states that its purpose is to protect the constitutional rights of those involved in family court matters by banning the interpretation of "foreign law."
The text states that the goal of the bill is "to protect its citizens from the application of foreign law that would result in the violation of a fundamental constitutional right of a natural person."
The bill was originally named House Bill 695 and approved by the state House in May, but it was then transformed into an abortion bill by the Senate, ergo forcing the bill's sponsors to create a new version, although the text of the bill remains the same.
Sen. E.S. "Buck" Newton, a Republican from Wilson and the legislation's Senate sponsor, told the News&Observer that the bill was important because it defines which laws can be interpreted in courts.
"Unfortunately we have judges from time to time [...] that sometimes seem to forget what the supreme law of the land is, and sometimes make improper rulings," Newton told the News&Observer.
The News&Observer added that Newton made it clear during Friday's session in Senate that the legislation is specifically meant to ban an interpretation of Sharia law, or a set of legal codes imposed by the teachings of Islam.
Additionally, Rep. Chris Whitmire (R-Transylvania), another one of the bill's sponsors, told WRAL.com that the bill protects the constitutional rights of citizens.
"It protects constitutional rights, especially of women and minorities," Whitmire said.
"There are times to where the judiciary is forced to legislate from the bench," he added.
Those opposing the bill argue that although it contains no specific language relating to Sharia law, its similarity to other states' laws proves its intention is to prevent the interpretation of Sharia law from courtrooms.
Opponents to the legislation argue that this creates a sense of Islamophobia in the state. Additionally, those contesting the law argue that it will impede the progress of business owners working in the state in international markets.
"It's unfortunate that North Carolina Republican leaders continue to waste taxpayers' resources with fringe policy proposals such as this. North Carolinians deserve a legislature focused on jobs, not potentially unconstitutional power grabs," Democratic Party spokesman Micah Beasley previously said of the bill, according to The Huffington Post.
The bill would not only apply to Sharia law but foreign law of all faiths and countries, including Judaism.