Commentary, HB2

Charlotte Observer issues scathing takedown of “compromise” on HB2

Here’s the basic deal right now on the “repeal” of HB2 being pushed by conservatives at the General Assembly: Democrats have surrendered on the issue of equity for transgender people when it comes to restroom access. The “compromise” would preempt any such protections. They’ve also partially surrendered on the issue of discrimination against LGBTQ people, by agreeing to allow such a fundamental right to be decided on a city-by-city basis with a stilted set of rules designed to make it hard to pass anything.

And it’s still not enough for Republicans.

This morning’s lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer explains:

“The HB2 debate really comes down to this: How much discrimination are you OK with?

A little? A lot? None?

If you can tolerate a lot, HB2 is the bill for you. If you can stomach just a medium amount, you’ll probably like HB186, the leading repeal bill being discussed at the legislature this week. If you are OK with just a little discrimination, you’ll probably back HB186 minus its referendum provision that lets voters decide whether to discriminate against LGBT citizens.

And if you want none? Well, plenty of approaches would provide that. But they’ve all been dismissed because they’re not ‘politically feasible.’ Why are they not feasible? Because Republican legislators will not support them. They are as likely to pass as a transgender person is to assault someone in a public bathroom.”

And here’s the right-on conclusion:

But Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake, is right that Republican leaders keep moving the goalposts. First they agreed to a ‘repeal/repeal’ deal in which they would repeal HB2 if Charlotte first repealed its ordinance. Charlotte did; the legislature didn’t. Then Republicans blocked cities from regulating bathrooms and Gov. Roy Cooper agreed. Now they want the public to be able to hold referendums on minorities’ civil rights.

Jackson and Cooper have agreed to back HB186 if the referendum provision is removed. Even that amended bill would allow city contractors, nonprofits and others to discriminate against gays and would leave unsettled what bathroom transgender people are to use.

North Carolina must be a state that recognizes every person’s dignity. If the legislature fails to make us that state, don’t blame those who treasure such a simple goal.”

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