At some point, you’ve got to think that Phil Berger, Tim Moore and their fellow conservative authors of HB2 will be saying to themselves, “What in the heck have we done and why? No matter how much the religious right fawns over us, this simply has not been worth it.”
Let’s hope both men moved another few inches closer to that moment yesterday when their own handpicked President of the University of North Carolina — an official who has her own history of dunder-headed stances toward LGBT equality — once again weighed in to remind them, politely but forcefully, of the need to repeal their discriminatory law.
In case you missed it, UNC boss Margaret Spellings told Emery Dalesio of the Associated Press that HB2 is driving away smart people who would have otherwise come to work for UNC.
“A North Carolina law limiting the legal protections of LGBT people has hampered the public universities that drive the state’s economic growth, University of North Carolina President Margaret Spellings said Wednesday.
Spellings said recruited candidates have ruled out moving to North Carolina because of the law, and that she’s unaware of any academic talent embracing a North Carolina move because of the law called House Bill 2.
‘I know people have withdrawn their candidacy,’ Spellings told The Associated Press during an interview Wednesday. ‘But how many? To what effect? Were they not coming anyway? We’ll never know.'”
After describing the law and some of the background surrounding it, the article continued:
“‘They believe it’s had some unintended consequences for the state,’ said Spellings, who was President George W. Bush’s Education Secretary and began leading the 17 public university campuses three weeks before the law passed.
‘Obviously the legislature knows what we know. That’s why they had a special session. That’s why they are trying to come to some solution. That’s why the governor and the legislative leaders are apparently talking,’ she said….
Spellings has said the campuses must obey the law, but won’t change any policies or enforce the bathroom requirements.
‘We’re in a competitive world and our competitors have used this issue against us to some extent,’ she said Wednesday. ‘If I’m in Georgia and I’m in a competitive bidding war for a world-class faculty member, I’m going to say, if this is a transgender or gay person, “Is this an environment where you’re going to live and work?” So I think anecdotally there’s some of that going on.'”
Spellings, of course, is just the latest in a long and growing list of conservative establishment types to send a message to Berger and Moore that enough is enough already. Last month’s special legislative session made clear that the votes are there in both houses of the General Assembly to repeal the law. The only question at this point is whether Berger and Moore are willing to allow such a vote and risk ticking off their respective right wings. Let’s hope Spellings’ statements bring such a development that much closer to fruition.