Commentary

In rant against Virginia court ruling, Phil Berger admits what HB 2 is really about

Sen. Phil Berger

Sen. Phil Berger

As is explained in this morning’s Must Read over on the main Policy Watch site, yesterday’s federal Court of Appeals ruling in favor of a transgender Virginia high schooler is helping to expedite the growing national debate over LGBT rights and the fate of North Carolina’s almost month-old discrimination law known as House Bill 2.

As the lawyers representing Gavin Grimm (the Virginia kid who brought suit seeking access to the bathroom that corresponds with his gender identity) and those suing North Carolina over HB 2 explain, the ruling serves as “a beacon of hope in the face of increasingly hostile rhetoric against transgender people…across the nation,” and “makes plain that North Carolina’s House Bill 2 violates Title IX by discriminating against transgender students and forcing them to use the wrong restroom at school.”

And here’s what else the decision has done: it has once again forced the blustering opponents of LGBT equality to forget their scripted lines about “bathroom predators” and admit their true objective: to deny the existence of transgender people altogether.

Read what North Carolina’s Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said yesterday in his official response to the Virginia court ruling:

“People need to wake up:  Roy Cooper, Barack Obama, two unelected federal judges and the liberal media are on the verge of completing their radical social reengineering of our society by forcing middle school-aged girls to share school locker rooms with boys.”

Did you catch that? According to the man who is arguably the most powerful politician in North Carolina, transgender human beings don’t exist; they are merely people of one gender pretending to be people of the other. It is a remarkably mean-spirited and ignorant assertion by a supposedly educated and informed man.

As was noted in this space last week, there’s never really been much doubt that fulminating preachers like Greensboro’s Ron Baity and Raleigh’s Patrick Wooden held such offensive and extreme views. Spreading fear, hatred and social division is what these charlatans are all about after all.

But when North Carolina’s most powerful politician — a man who at one point in his career in politics was a fairly reasonable guy — sinks to such levels and expresses such uninformed, spiteful and just plain mean views, it is a dark and embarrassing day for our state.

The only silver lining in all this is that at least North Carolinians should all now know where things really stand. The debate over HB 2 is not a fight about “bathroom safety”; it is a fight over whether LGBT North Carolinians (especially “T” North Carolinians) even exist and will be recognized as human beings by their government. At some point, proponents of love and inclusion will win the day, but it’s going to be a long, tough and, at times, unpleasant slog.

7 Comments


  1. Arthur

    April 20, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Wow! Someone is frightened!

  2. Israel J Pattison

    April 20, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Totally and completely ignored the real purpose of this law. Consider that if a person was making minimum wage in a North Carolina town or city that had locally raised the minimum wage to $15, on April 1st that person took a 50% pay cut. Doesn’t matter whether you’re trans or cis, straight or gay. Could you survive a 50% pay cut with only 8 days notice? This law affects every employee in North Carolina. How about reporting that?

  3. Rob Schofield

    April 20, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Thanks Israel — we have reported on the provision in the law that preempts local iiving wage ordinances multiple times.

  4. Joseph Margolis

    April 20, 2016 at 11:54 am

    The sexism demonstrated in his remarks deserves some mention too. Why is Berger only concerned about transgender women using the women’s room and not the other way around?

  5. Joseph Margolis

    April 20, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Also, i think it will be a win for Republicans in Statewide elections if the Federal courts overturn HB2.

  6. John Ullmann

    April 20, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Most people have no idea how fast technology and medical science are changing the lives of people who are really suffering with personal transgender issues. I pay a lot of attention to science and psychology and I find the ethical questions to be quite complex, certainly beyond the scope of the average Joe & his family who get the simplified version of horrific outcomes from Republican politicians spread thin on toast for their part-time after-work fear- and hate-mongering pleasure. They don’t live in a world structured by the Bill of Rights. They are told day and night by the right wing noise machine that their rights are being shredded by big gummint right here in Amerkuh. Phil Berger may be well-educated and intelligent, but he is intentionally deviant from good government and he does this for politics. It is an immensely perverse operation, and education is the only way to unman it. Don’t be so respectful of this low-life political actor Phil Berger. The biggest mistake we have made is being tolerant of the intolerable lies and bigotry spread under the authority of the much-abused First Amendment. You can hang this one on Clinton, too. His Telecommunications Act of 1996 paved the way for irrational lies to be broadcast as news like we get daily on Fox. And Phil Berger and most Republicans are just part of the problem dividing us so that we can be mislead.

  7. Janet Hancock

    April 21, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Phil Berger is a pox on this state…and this country. He needs to go. McCrory as well, and so many more! Our GA and Senate need a good cleaning…

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