North Carolina’s infamous HB2 (House Bill 2) created a worldwide stir by banning trans citizens from using public restrooms corresponding to their gender expression. It also forbade municipalities from enacting policies to protect LGBT people from discrimination.
HB2’s impact on the state’s politics and economy was swift. The law prompted some businesses to halt expansions. Entertainers and sports organizations canceled or relocated events that had been scheduled in the state, including the NBA All-Star game in Charlotte.
A recent Associated Press analysis found that HB2 already will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years.
Former GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the law, was targeted for defeat and lost his re-election race, even as Republican Donald Trump prevailed in the state. His replacement, Democrat Roy Cooper, vowed to repeal the law.
The measure to repeal HB2 passed on March 30, but it looks as if not much will change. The new law leaves state legislators in charge of policy on public, multi-stall restrooms. It also prohibits municipalities from enacting ordinances to protect LGBT people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity until December 2020.
Let’s look at what this “compromise” does.
To start, the new bill effectively leaves North Carolina’s hard-right Legislature in control of where trans citizens can do their business. It means that bearded, masculine trans men have to use the ladies’ room in public places, and trans women in full make-up and high heels will have to use the men’s room.
The other part of the new law — extending the state’s ban until 2020 on laws designed to protect LGBT people from discrimination — defies both reason and the law of the land.
Is the extension meant to give North Carolinians time to absorb the shocking idea that they can’t violate the civil rights of LGBT folks? Or is it a signal that they’d better get all their homophobia and transphobia out of their systems in the next two and a half years?
The Supreme Court already decided in Romer v. Evans (1996) that it’s unconstitutional for states to forbid cities, towns, and counties from enacting nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people. North Carolina is now operating in defiance of that ruling — just so right-wing bigots can throw people they perceive to be gay, lesbian or trans out of their businesses and refuse them housing, credit or wedding cakes.
The repeal “compromise” already has backfired — no one is happy with it.
The measure “does not repeal HB2. It is simply a new version of HB2 that abandons LGBTQ people, targets the transgender community, and leaves thousands of North Carolinians vulnerable to discrimination at work, at home, and in their communities,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “Just like we did with … McCrory, we will hold all elected officials accountable — Democrats and Republicans — who target our community by advancing this statewide ban on nondiscrimination protections.”
The “Christian” right is no happier.
The only thing that the so-called compromise bill actually compromised is the safety and well-being of the state’s LGBT citizens.