Commentary

Is this the most dishonest defense of NC’s new discrimination law yet? (Video)

Gov. Pat McCrory has been lashing out sporadically and incoherently at “the liberal media” in recent days and Senate President Phil Berger has been issuing startlingly dishonest and offensive statements about male predators invading women’s restrooms, but the award for “most dishonest defense of the state’s new discrimination law yet” probably has to go Lt. Gov. Dan Forest for his word-parsing, Elmer Gantry-like appearance on CNBC the other day (see below).

If you can stomach it, check out Forest’s blithe assertions in the middle of the appearance that:

  • HB 2  is “the first public anti-discrimination bill in the state’s history,”
  • “nowhere in the bill does it explicitly discriminate against transgender people,” and
  • the Charlotte ordinance said “you cannot put male or female on a bathroom stall in the city of Charlotte.”

But perhaps the most disingenuous and dangerously deceptive prevarications come in and around the five minute mark of the interview when Forest attempts to deny what the bill does to employees who are discriminated against because of their race, sex, religion or other characteristic. The new law abolishes the right of North Carolinians to sue in state court for such discrimination — thus taking away a right that’s been established law for more than three decades and placing the state in league with Mississippi (the only other state to bar such claims). But look and listen closely to Forest:

“This anti-discrimination law is actually broader than federal law and anybody who’s being discriminated against in the state of North Carolina still has protections under state law and under federal law. They have the right to go into court in the state of North Carolina and be protected for that discrimination. There’s nothing discriminatory about that.”

Did you catch the slick word parsing there? First Forest claims that people still have “protections” under state law. While that might be technically true for some people in some sense, it is effectively meaningless because North Carolinians now can no longer sue in state court to enforce such protections. And while some subset of victims of discrimination may still be able to sue in Federal courts located in the state (hence, Gantry’s, er uh, Forest’s claim that victims can still “go into court in the state of North Carolina”) this option is vastly less accessible to victims for numerous reasons. In other words, Forest’s bald faced claims are the epitome of slick, political dishonesty designed to mislead the public on a vital issue.

The Lt. Governor goes on to make several other utterly ridiculous claims (he calls the demonstrable fact that the law may endanger federal Title IX funding “a real nice leftist lie” and states that Attorney General Cooper “hasn’t prosecuted anything to protect the state of North Carolina since we’ve been in office”) but you get the idea.

The bottom line: Unlike the Governor, Forest can be a skilled and seemingly affable, if utterly mendacious, talking head — especially when it comes to advancing the agenda of the religious Right. Caring and thinking people would do well to pay attention and respond as they work to repeal this disastrous law.

3 Comments


  1. Laurie

    March 31, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Well, the NC State Constitution does ensure redress through state courts.
    HB2 is explicitly in disagreement with the State Constitution.

    Doesn’t any one ever read anything anymore?

  2. Marshall Adame

    March 31, 2016 at 11:17 am

    HB2 Prevents cities from enacting a higher minimum wage (Wage Control) and prevents municipalities from enacting any non-discrimination laws. Those two things alone should have prevented ANY Democrat from supporting this law, the public restroom issue notwithstanding.
    The question we need to ask the eleven Democrats who voted for HB2 is why they oppose nondiscrimination laws and why they oppose a higher minimum wage.
    It is very easy to fain ignorance when it comes to transgender issues, especially for elected officials, but non-discrimination laws and minimum wage issues are very easily understood.
    Additionally whenever a Republican Legislature is called into an emergency session specifically to address an issue relative to civil rights, or “Law & Order” issues, ANY Democrat should know to be weary of the potential outcome and impact of such a session.
    As a citizen of North Carolina and as the President of the NCDP Hispanic American Caucus I am very disappointed in those eleven Democrats who have assisted the heavy hand of the Republican Legislature in further decimating the rights, liberties of every North Carolinian and their locally elected municipalities.
    If it were in my power I would fund the challenge against each and every one of these eleven in their next election. From my perspective they have sold out the Democratic Party, our ideals, platform and struggle for a living wage, equality and justice for all….. I know our Party cannot stand for everything….but we must at least stand for something. But that’s just me..

  3. David Esmay

    April 1, 2016 at 7:04 am

    It’s disturbing to watch Forrest, he is the embodiment of double think. This only affirms my assertions in the past that Forrest is the religious right’s Manchurian candidate.

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