Whatever the Charlotte City Council does now, the fight for LGBT equality will go on

NO-HB2The Charlotte City Council backed off a plan to “repeal” the anti-discrimination ordinance that gave rise to HB2 last night. Good for the seven members who took that action — though the fact that they ever started to go down that road was a huge mistake.

First of all, the notion that there needed to be a “repeal” of a law already invalidated by the General Assembly didn’t make any sense. If the ball is in anyone’s court on this matter, it’s the legislature’s and Governor McCrory’s. Even if there is to be some kind of a compromise on this issue, it cannot involve HB2 staying in effect. The repeal of HB2 is the first thing that has to happen.

But even if the Council had caved into pressure from the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, here’s an important thing we now know about this debate: it wouldn’t have changed anything. The boycotts would still continue and North Carolina would still be a national pariah and laughingstock.

The simple fact at this point is that the issue is already too far down the road for the Charlotte City Council to somehow walk things back. North Carolina is at the epicenter of a huge national and international fight over basic equality for LGBT people and it’s not going to end until state leaders admit that they were wrong and agree to guarantee basic rights — the right not to be fired, the right not to be discriminated against in public accommodations and, yes,the right not to be denied access to a bathroom simply because of who you are.

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