Commentary

Even conservative South Dakota rejects discrimination against transgender persons

In the wacky world of modern American politics, it’s hard to find a more conservative Republican state that South Dakota. In the home state of the late George McGovern, every statewide elected official is now a Republican and the GOP holds overwhelming legislative majorities. If there’s a right-wing social or economic issue to be advanced, South Dakota is your place.

And, yet, despite this, check out this item from this morning’s headlines:

South Dakota Governor Vetoes Law on Transgender Bathrooms

South Dakota’s governor vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have made the state the first in the U.S. to approve a law requiring transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth.

Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who initially reacted positively to the proposal but said he needed to research the issue, rejected the bill after groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign insisted it was discriminatory.

In his veto message, Daugaard said the bill ‘does not address any pressing issue’ and that such decisions were best left to local school officials. He also noted that signing the bill could create costly liability issues for schools and the state. The ACLU had promised to encourage legal action if the bill became law.

‘I am so happy right now. You have no idea,’ said 18-year-old Thomas Lewis, a transgender high school student in Sioux Falls. Lewis said he has support at his school, but that the veto shows such support goes beyond his friends.

‘The government’s not going to hold me back from who I really am,’ he said.

Let’s fervently hope that Pat McCrory, Phil Berger and Tim Moore are paying attention. Maybe, having gotten their red meat, base-appeasing headlines by raising a ruckus about Charlotte’s new anti-discrimination ordinance, they too can see now that it too does not address any pressing state issue.

Commentary

The best editorial of the weekend

The best editorial of the weekend came from the Greensboro News & Record. The subject: the state’s new bathroom wars manufactured by opportunistic politicians looking to gin up their right-wing bases in the aftermath of Charlotte’s recent adoption of a nondiscrimination ordinance.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The ordinance, approved Monday by a 7-4 vote of the Charlotte City Council, prohibits discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgendered people. The opposition stems from bathroom concerns. Critics are afraid that men dressing as women will enter women’s restrooms and attack women and girls.

That’s possible, with or without the Charlotte ordinance. Such attacks seem to be extremely rare, if they occur at all, in cities that already have nondiscrimination ordinances.

It’s also possible that men dressed as men can attack men and boys in men’s rooms. Everyone needs to be watchful in public facilities. Small children should be accompanied by a parent.

Charlotte has simply acknowledged the reality that transgendered people use public bathrooms without drawing attention to themselves or causing problems. Its ordinance does not require unisex facilities, according to its city attorney. It simply offers a legal resolution for people who can otherwise find themselves in a dilemma and who are at least due a measure of human understanding and accommodation rather than contempt.”

The N&R take comes on top of similar pieces in Raleigh’s News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer last week and these great editorial cartoons by Dwane Powell, Kevin Siers and our own John Cole (see below). Let’s hope state leaders are paying attention. Unfortunately, that seems like a long shot.

2-29-16 NCPW cartoon

Commentary

Pat McCrory, Tim Moore and Franklin Graham want to use the same restroom as Caitlyn Jenner

image: Caitlyn Jenner's Twitter account

Image: Caitlyn Jenner’s Twitter account

As long as shameless politicians and bullying preachers are set on taking the matter of Charlotte’s new human rights ordinance (a simple and common sense law that has worked just fine in scores of cities across America) into the gutter with ridiculous claims about sexual predators, we might as well get down to the business of slugging this one out.

So here goes: Pat McCrory, Tim Moore and Franklin Graham want to use the same restroom as Caitlyn Jenner.

I mean, that is, after all is said and done, what these guys are arguing for, isn’t it?

Under the McCrory/Moore/Graham theory of human gender identity, humans are who they are on the day they are born. Any alteration after that is, apparently, null and void as far as the MMG team is concerned.

Caitlyn Jenner? Sorry, it’ll always be Bruce to the MMG boys. Renee Richards? Forever Richard Raskind. Chaz Bono? Forever Chastity.

So, the next time celebrities descend on North Carolina for, I don’t know, a Beyoncé concert, a championship football game, a film shoot in Wilmington or MerleFest in Wilkesboro and for some reason, Caitlyn shows up to check out the scene, let’s hope our bright-lights-loving Guv finds himself in the same men’s room line with a glamorous brunette. Maybe then he can explain to her (and the rest of the world) what the heck he and his buddies were trying to prove with their shameless/shameful pandering.

Commentary

House Speaker Tim Moore joins in the demagoguery over Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance

Moore_15c

State Rep. Tim Moore

Quick: What’s a sure sign that a conservative politician is feeling sensitive/vulnerable about his or her performance in office and may even be grappling with hints of potential ethical problems?

If you guessed “he or she is picking on vulnerable and unpopular people and ginning up controversy on what ought to be a non-issue in an effort to pander to the worst instincts of the least well-informed and most narrow-minded members of his or her political base” give yourself a gold star.

Today’s classic case in point: North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore responding to a modest little ordinance adopted by the Charlotte City Council last night that bars businesses from discriminating against gay, lesbian or transgender people, in addition to long-standing protections based on race, age, religion and gender.

It really ought to be a complete non-issue, just as it has been in scores of cities across the country with similar laws. Indeed, it ought to be a state law so that the handful of knuckleheads around the state who want to discriminate in such a way can be required to enter the 21st century.

Unfortunately, people like Moore seldom miss a chance to spread fear and misinformation — especially if doing so is all but guaranteed to fire up the haters and fear mongers who don’t have a clue about what the heck is really going on in the world. Here’s Moore’s official statement from earlier today on the the new ordinance:

“Speaker Responds to Charlotte City Council Decision on Unisex Bathrooms

Raleigh, NC – Late last night the Charlotte City Council voted in favor of an ordinance that would that would allow residents to use either a men’s or a women’s bathroom.

‘The Charlotte City Council has gone against all common sense and has created a major public safety issue by opening all bathrooms and changing rooms to the general public,’ Speaker Moore (R-Cleveland) stated on Monday after the council’s vote. ‘This ordinance is impossible to regulate as intended, and creates undue regulatory burdens on private businesses. I join my conservative colleagues and Governor McCrory in exploring legislative intervention to correct this radical course.’”

It’s hard to adequately convey what an utter crock of bathroom waste this statement is.

But here’s a try: The Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, one of the most important elected officials in one of the largest states in the most powerful country in the world, is unwilling to acknowledge the existence of transgender human beings or their basic human right to be and live as who they are. Despite the fact that millions of people all over the planet live quite peacefully and happily in communities with such protections (including in such radical leftist towns as Charleston, Columbia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina),  Speaker Moore is happy to spout nonsense about “unisex bathrooms” and manufacture a controversy in the North Carolina General Assembly just in time for the 2016 legislative session that convenes in April. What’s more, he’s engaging in all of this shameful/shameless pandering at a time during which he’s under assault from right-wingers in his party for being insufficiently reactionary and during which he is the subject of multiple news media stories about ethically questionable behavior.

What more do you need to know?

Commentary

McCrory takes the low road yet again; targets transgender North Carolinians for discrimination

Image: Franklin Graham's Facebook page

Gov. McCrory appearing with another champion of discrimination. Image: Franklin Graham’s Facebook page

Public attitudes on a lot of important social issues have moved in a progressive direction in recent years — sometimes at an encouragingly rapid clip. This progress has been especially noteworthy in the realm of LGBT equality, where hundreds of prominent politicians and public figures have embraced the 21st Century and abandoned their formerly bigoted stances.

And then there’s North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. Despite, at times, giving the impression of being a relatively modern man who knows better that to parrot the haters and theocrats, the Guv cannot, apparently, resist the temptation to demagogue for perceived political advantage. Last November, the Guv took the absurd step of inserting himself into a Virginia dispute over the bathroom usage of a transgender schoolboy and now he’s at it again. The Charlotte Observer reports:

“Gov. Pat McCrory warned two Charlotte City Council members Sunday that if the city approves new legal protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people on Monday, the vote would ‘most likely cause immediate state legislative intervention.’

McCrory is concerned about a provision in the proposed expanded ordinance that would allow transgender residents to use either a men’s or a women’s bathroom. That part of the ordinance has also caused a furor in Charlotte and led to the ordinance being defeated 6-5 last year.

‘It is not only the citizens of Charlotte that will be impacted by changing basic restroom and locker room norms but also citizens from across our state and nation who visit and work in Charlotte,’ McCrory said in an email to the council’s two Republicans, Ed Driggs and Kenny Smith. ‘This shift in policy could also create major public safety issues by putting citizens in possible danger from deviant actions by individuals taking improper advantage of a bad policy.’

McCrory, a Republican, continued: ‘Also, this action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate State legislative intervention which I would support as governor.’”

It’s hard to overstate the mendacity and cowardice of the Governor’s statement. As we noted last fall in response to the Governor’s inane observation that federal enforcement of civil rights laws to help transgendered persons amounted to an “unacceptable” federal overreach that “must be stopped”:

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