Commentary

Just when conservatives thought the fallout from HB2 couldn’t get any worse…

Margaret Spellings

Margaret Spellings

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‘I know people have withdrawn their candidacy,’ Spellings told The Associated Press during an interview Wednesday.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.

4 Comments


  1. Linda Heyroth

    January 20, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Bathroom should be according to birth records nothing more or nothing less. Birth records are asighned at birth and that is your binding born legal gender and it guarantees safety for all. Nothing more or nothing less should be at it but should be respected for how Listed at birth.

  2. Rocky

    January 20, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Linda your view is that of a simple minded person. There are already laws in place to protect women/children and if those laws won’t stop someone that another law will not stop them either. Also if you are really concerned about people maybe we should be banning men from churches, schools and clubs because there are actual instance where women and child have been raped in those location where as there is no record of anyone in NC that was attacked in the restroom by a transgender.

  3. Dave

    January 20, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Wow. You people are desperate to force women and girls to share locker rooms, showers and changing facilities with men and boys.
    #OutofTouch
    #Disrespectful
    #ProtectPrivacy

  4. Greg

    January 21, 2017 at 9:32 am

    The restroom use part of HB2 is just smoke to get support for something that contains measures tht are Unconstitutional. No one is going to check the gender of someone entering a public restroom. Men who live as women have been using the women’s room since those things came about.
    Passing Unconstitutional measures is a speciality of the NCGA majority GOP in Raleigh…..read the real meat of that “bill” It prohibits anyone from sueing in State Court for any kind of discrimination in hiring and the workplace…that means, age, gender, race ans religion. it also prohibits any Local jurisdiction from enacting any discrimination ordinances as well as any wage ordinances. This “bill” is a power grab from Local Government by a group of very misguided indiviiduals who do not understand Democracy.

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