Commentary

Editorials blast Berger’s latest shameless demagoguery on HB2

Phil BergerJust when you thought the defenders and architects of North Carolina’s disastrous LGBT discrimination law, HB2, couldn’t take things any lower, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger has stepped up to the plate with a giant backhoe.

As editorials in the Charlotte Observer and Fayetteville Observer have rightfully highlighted in recent days, Berger has let fly with a new series of outrageous assertions and patently false claims in which he blames the illegal behavior of a fully male man who apparently entered a women’s restroom in Charlotte on — we are not making this up — Democratic opponents of HB2.

Here’s the Charlotte O:

“Phil Berger’s office wanted everyone to know about a Charlotte TV news report on a man who went into the women’s bathroom at the Seventh Street Public Market in uptown, alarming a female patron.

It appeared to be a standard case of a sexual deviant trespassing in the women’s restroom. But Berger said it was much more. He called it proof of how Charlotte’s much-debated non-discrimination ordinance lets a man avoid criminal charges for such an offense simply ‘by claiming he felt like he needed to use the women’s room that day.’

‘Roy Cooper, Jennifer Roberts, and anyone else actively fighting the common-sense bathroom safety bill needs to explain why they think what this man put this woman through in a Charlotte bathroom this week should be legal,’ Berger said in the news release.”

As the editorial went on to explain, Berger’s statement was an utterly outrageous crock of B.S. This morning’s Fayetteville O puts it this way:

“Phil Berger ought to be ashamed. But we doubt that he is. Playing to people’s worst fears and prejudices is working out pretty well for him. Why stop now?

The state Senate leader jumped on a story from Charlotte last week, about a woman who went into a restaurant bathroom and found a men in the next stall, apparently doing lewd things. She and her husband alerted building security officers and the man was later arrested and charged with indecent exposure.

That should have been the end of the story, and it would have been, save for resolution of the case in court.

But Berger had his press aide launch a release that said this is the kind of behavior Attorney General Roy Cooper and Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts are encouraging by opposing House Bill 2 and by backing measures that would let transgender people use the restrooms of their choice.

Never mind that the man in the stall was dressed in running shoes, shorts and a T-shirt, was clearly living his life as a male, was definitely not transgender, and was arrested under the appropriate statute.

But hey, what are a few little details when you can rile people up – and gain support for a misbegotten law – by pandering to irrational fears and ignorance?”

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