Tag Archives: McCrory

Republicans begin 2017 overflowing with bathroom laws

Right-wing Republicans can’t keep their minds and taxpayers’ dollars out of the toilet. During the first week of 2017, GOP lawmakers in five states introduced bathroom laws to make transgender people use restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth rather than their current gender identity.

Three other states filed so-called “bathroom bills” last year for introduction in this year’s legislative sessions. And in Wisconsin, Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, says he plans to reintroduce his bathroom bill, which went nowhere in 2016.

The sudden urgency to introduce such baseless laws in state after state is baffling, especially after the backlash against North Carolina’s House Bill 2. Titled the “Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act,” it caused that state huge economic losses. Businesses canceled plans to expand there, and entertainers, conventions and others boycotted the state.

On top of all that, the governor who championed the bill, Pat McCrory, lost his job to a Democrat on Nov. 8, even though his state went for Republican Donald Trump.

One would think that North Carolina might be a cautionary tale.

But no. Legislators are busy introducing bathroom laws and executive officials are embracing them. For instance, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick quickly ranked a bathroom bill as a top legislative priority.

The ‘rationale’

The rationale behind such bills is fear that men will pretend to be transgender and dress up like women to gain access to ladies’ rooms, female locker rooms and other gender-segregated facilities. Once inside, Republicans say, such men will ogle or attack innocent women.

A Google search reveals that while such incidents have occurred, they are extremely rare. They’re certainly not happening at anywhere near a rate that could justify Republicans’ obsession with the subject. And they were happening long before the word transgender even appeared on the world’s radar.

The reality

The real reason bathroom laws are written is ignorance, on several levels. Men who dress as women for kicks are transvestites — and they don’t don a dress to sneak into the ladies’ room. Transgender people — those whose gender identity does not match their birth gender — go through years of transitioning, including psychoanalysis and often expensive surgery, to live in the body they say expresses their true gender. Male-to-female transgender women don’t use ladies’ rooms until the use of hormones and other procedures have sufficiently feminized them.

Changing sexual identity is not done on a whim — and certainly not for ogling. Many transgender people lose their jobs, families, and friends when they come out. Transgender people are frequently subjected to discrimination and harassment. They’re subject to high rates of hate crimes, and some of those crimes are particularly brutal, especially for transgender women.

Trans people attempt suicide at a rate of 41 percent, compared with 4.6 percent for the overall population.

Who but the most ignorant — willfully ignorant — people would believe that a transgender woman would go through all of that just to spy on women using the john? Why can’t Republicans just leave them alone and let them do their business?

Perhaps the greatest show of ignorance among these bathroom-obsessed Republicans is the actual result of such bills: requiring female-to-male transgender men to use the ladies’ room.

We don’t usually include pictures in our editorials, but this time, we must. It’s a poster of Buck Angel, a muscular, hairy trans celebrity who is far from alone among transgender men in appearing hyper-masculine. Please send this picture — and others like it — to Rep. Kremer, to Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling and others on the religious right. Ask them why they want to force such men to use the ladies’ room.

Ignorance and an unhealthy obsession with other peoples’ sexuality make for a toxic combination. Welcome to the bathroom wars of 2017.

Transgender comedian Ian Harvie performs as Margaret Cho’s opening act. If GOP state Rep.Jesse Kremer had his way, Harvie would have to use the ladies’ room if he performed in Wisconsin.

North Carolina Republicans back out of pledge to repeal bathroom bill

A supposedly bipartisan deal to repeal North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law — also known as the bathroom bill — collapsed, meaning the state will remain a pariah shunned by corporations, entertainers and high-profile sporting events.

After more than nine hours of backroom discussions and sporadic public effort, Republican state legislators quit trying to repeal House Bill 2 and went home Wednesday night.

The law omits gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from state anti-discrimination protections, bars local governments from passing non-discrimination ordinances protecting LGBT citizens from being denied civil rights in employment and housing. It orders transgender people to use bathrooms and showers that align with their sex at birth, even if they’ve physically transitioned into the gender they identify with. The bill forces muscular, bearded men who were born as girls into using ladies’ rooms and feminine women in high heels and makeup into using men’s rooms.

But social conservatives defended the bathroom bill as necessary to prevent heterosexual men from presenting themselves as women in order to molest women and girls in bathrooms.A supposedly bipartisan deal to repeal North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law collapsed, meaning the state will remain a pariah shunned by corporations, entertainers and high-profile sporting events.

The issue of transgender bathroom use “wasn’t a problem North Carolina was facing,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Legislators “should admit they messed up and repeal the bill.

The U.S. Justice Department and others contend the threat of sexual predators posing as transgender persons to enter a bathroom is practically nonexistent.

The bathroom bill has been blasted by gay-rights groups and resulted in many millions of dollars worth of economic benefits, as conventions, jobs and sporting events, such as the NBA All-Star Game, now shun the state. Corporate critics of the law included Deutsche Bank and Paypal, which both backed out of projects that would have brought hundreds of jobs to North Carolina.

“The NCAA’s decision to withhold championships from North Carolina remains unchanged,” spokesman Bob Williams said.

Repealing the state law could have ended protracted and expensive legal challenges by the federal Justice Department and transgender residents. Much of that litigation has been delayed while the U.S. Supreme Court hears a separate Virginia case on transgender restroom access.

“I’m disappointed that we have yet to remove the stain from the reputation of our great state that is around this country and around the world,” Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper said.

He said he and his staff worked for more than a week on forging an agreement to repeal the law, talking with lawmakers from both parties, businesses, sports industry representatives and LGBT leaders.

GOP legislators who see themselves as business-friendly appeared shaken by a months-long backlash as major companies like BASF, IBM and Bank of America described HB2 as bad for business.

A compromise touted by both Cooper and outgoing GOP Gov. Pat McCrory called for Charlotte to eliminate its anti-discrimination ordinance in exchange for lawmakers undoing the anti-LGBT law.

But North Carolina’s religious-right never wanted to repeal the law, and GOP lawmakers cried foul when Charlotte leaders initially left part of the city’s ordinance in place.

McCrory signed the law and became its national face. HB2, along with other right-leaning bills he signed, turned this fall’s gubernatorial campaign into a referendum on the state’s recent conservative slant. He lost by about 10,000 votes to Cooper.

NCAA relocates championships from North Carolina over anti-LGBT law

The NCAA has pulled seven championship events from North Carolina, including opening-weekend men’s basketball tournament games, for the coming year due to a state law that discriminates against LGBT people.

The NCAA said the decision by its board of governors came “because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.”

“This decision is consistent with the NCAA’s long-standing core values of inclusion, student-athlete well-being and creating a culture of fairness,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, the chair of the board of governors.

The law — known as HB2 — requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. That means that heavily muscled and bearded transgender men have to use ladies’ rooms, while transgender women with breasts wearing makeup have to use men’s rooms.

The effect of the law is so jarring that it prevents many transgender people from using public facilities.

The law also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide anti-discrimination protections. HB2 was signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year. A spokesman with McCrory’s office couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

“I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor,” spokeswoman Kami Mueller said.

The only championship events that can be hosted in North Carolina this academic year are ones determined when a team earns the right to play on their own campus. North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham and North Carolina State AD Debbie Yow both issued statements saying they were disappointed at the loss of the events.

“We certainly hope there will be resolution in the very near future,” Yow said.

The campaign spokesman for Democrat Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general and McCrory’s re-election opponent in November, said the law needs to be repealed.

“It seems that almost every day, we learn of a new consequence of HB2,” spokesman Ford Porter said. “… We need to repeal this law and get our state back on track.”

The NCAA’s move leaves the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game in Charlotte as the marquee college sporting event in the state this year as the men’s basketball tournament starts a two-year stay in Brooklyn, New York.

However, that event also could be in jeopardy. In May, the ACC announced that member schools discussed the law during their annual spring meetings and said it could impact whether the state hosts league championship events.

In April, the NCAA announced it was adopting an anti-discrimination measure that would affect the way the governing body evaluates bids to host sporting events and required sites to “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination.”

In a statement Monday night, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the governing body will delay announcements on future championship sites until early next year. That comes as it reviews responses to questionnaires required of prospective site hosts on how they would comply with the NCAA’s anti-discrimination measure.

In announcing its decision Monday, the NCAA stated current North Carolina laws “make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver” on that requirement.

The NCAA also took special note of four ways North Carolina’s law differs from other states. The NCAA pointed out that five states — Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington — and several cities prohibit travel by public employees and representatives of public institutions to the state of North Carolina. Those representatives prohibited to travel could include athletes, coaches and athletic administrators.

Monday’s action by the NCAA is the latest public and business backlash that has arisen since the law was enacted. The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans instead of hosting it in Charlotte as originally scheduled because of the law. Duke lost a men’s basketball game from its schedule when Albany backed out due to that state’s travel ban, while the Vermont women’s basketball team has canceled a December trip to play North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Ringo Starr have canceled plans to play in North Carolina. And PayPal reversed plans to open a 400-employee operation center in Charlotte.

___

 

UNC system says it won’t enforce transgender restroom rules

The University of North Carolina system told a federal court that it would not enforce a law requiring transgender students to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.

The declaration came in a motion on May 27 asking a federal court to halt civil legal proceedings against the university system while a higher court decides a separate case on transgender rights from Virginia.

University system President Margaret Spellings, who served as George W. Bush’s administration, wrote in an affidavit that, pending the outcome of the North Carolina case: “I have no intent to exercise my authority to promulgate any guidelines or regulations that require transgender students to use the restrooms consistent with their biological sex.”

The university system’s lawyers went further, noting in a filing that the state law contains no enforcement mechanism and the university system also hasn’t “changed any of its policies or practices regarding transgender students or employees.”

“There is nothing in the Act that prevents any transgender person from using the restroom consistent with his or her gender identity,” the lawyers wrote.

They ask the federal judge to halt proceedings against the university system pending the outcome of a case on transgender rights being heard by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia as well as a separate case by the federal Department of Justice against North Carolina.

Five dueling cases over the law are pending in federal courts in North Carolina.

The UNC System had been named as a defendant along with Gov. Pat McCrory in a case filed on behalf of plaintiffs including students and university employees. Plaintiffs say the law requiring them to use restrooms matching the sex on their birth certificate is discriminatory.

Separately, a three-judge panel of the Virginia appeals court gave a favorable ruling to a transgender student seeking to use high school restrooms in line with his gender identity. The Virginia school board he sued has asked for a new hearing before the full appeals court. That case hinges on a federal anti-discrimination law that’s also central to the North Carolina cases.

The North Carolina law enacted in March requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificate in public schools, universities and many other public buildings. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide anti-discrimination protections.

In a recent letter, McCrory asked Congress to clarify U.S. Civil Rights Act protections. The May 18 letter to U.S. House and Senate leaders asks them to act in light of Justice Department and Education Department instructions stating the federal law’s protections apply to sexual orientation and gender identity. McCrory disagrees.

Friday’s filings go a step further than previous statements by Spellings, who had lamented in a May 9 letter to the Justice Department that the system was “in a difficult position” caught between state and federal laws.

“Spellings is just being whipsawed,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond. “She’s in a tough spot, as is the system. They’re trying to do the best they can by their different constituencies.”

He said the request for a stay was sensible considering that the outcome of the Virginia case will likely dictate how the federal judges decide the North Carolina lawsuits.

“The district judges in North Carolina are probably not going to do anything other than what the 4th Circuit says,” he said.

 

Details of N.C.’s economic loss over anti-LGBT law

North Carolina’s Republican administration continues to defend its anti-LGBT law, House Bill 2 (HB2), but media outlets have documented the economic harm the law has done to the state, including backlash from the business community and the potential loss of federal funds. 

North Carolina Passed A Law Rescinding LGBT Nondiscrimination Protections.

On March 23, the North Carolina state legislature passed HB2, a “sweeping” law that invalidated local governments’ ability to provide legal protections for LGBT people and limited transgender people’s bathroom access in certain public bathrooms. The law came in response to a local ordinance passed in Charlotte that provided nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, including allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. [The Charlotte Observer3/23/16]

The Atlantic: After Weeks of Criticism, North Carolina Governor McCrory Is Attempting To “Blunt The Backlash” To Anti-LGBT Law.

On April 12, faced with a pending ACLU lawsuit and in response to weeks of national backlash, NC’s Gov. Pat McCrory issued a “nearly meaningless” executive order clarifying HB2. As The Atlantic noted, “there is no change to the transgender-bathroom conditions,” and it “does not restore cities’ right to establish local non-discrimination ordinances that apply to the private sector.” [The Atlantic, 4/12/16]

North Carolina’s Commerce Secretary “Doesn’t Expect The Legislation To Negatively Impact The State’s Economy.”

In an interview with the Triangle Business Journal, North Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary John Skvarla said he doesn’t expect the legislation to negatively impact the state’s economy:

In an interview, he said he has heard from companies “considering their options” but none that expressly decided to leave North Carolina because of the bill, which the LGBT community has decried as discriminatory to transgender people. “I have not had anyone ask any penetrating questions,” Skvarla said.

[…]

On Thursday, Skvarla said he has “not seen a diminution in the pipeline” of companies interested in an investment in North Carolina. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s business as usual,” he said. [Triangle Business Journal4/5/16]

CAP: HB2 Threatens More Than Half Billion Dollars In Economic Activity.

According to a report from the Center for American Progress based on publicly available estimates of the economic impact of lost or at-risk business activity or events, the North Carolina economy could potentially lose out on more than $568 million in private-sector economic activity through 2018. According to the report, the state has already lost out on $86 million and stands to lose upwards of an additional $481 million due to cancelled events, businesses leaving the area, and tourism declines if HB2 is not repealed. [The Center for American Progress4/13/2016]

WSOC TV: Charlotte’s Economy Suffers Due To Four Confirmed And Nine Potential Event Cancellations.

On April 11, local news outlet WSOC TV reported on the economic impact of HB2 in Charlotte:

Charlotte tourism sources told anchor Scott Wickersham on Friday that four groups canceled conventions because of HB2.

Nine were in talks but sources said they decided not to come to Charlotte.

Almost 30 more are on the fence because of HB2.

[…]

For those four confirmed events, there would’ve been more than 1,100 nights booked at hotels.

For the groups considering, that would have been more than 1,200 rooms booked and for the hesitant groups that’s nearly 90,000 rooms now hanging in the balance. [WSOCTV.com, 4/11/16]

Washington Post: Raleigh Stands To Lose Contracts For Multiple Events That Would Bring The Local Economy Millions of Dollars.

An April 12 Washington Post article reported on more economic impacts to the state from HB2:

Officials in the state are already reporting tourism losses and event cancellations due to the law. As of this week, five groups canceled events planned in the Wake County region, which would have brought the local economy more than $732,000, according to the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Another 16 groups were about to sign contracts to hold events and are considering canceling or changing their minds, according to a spokesman for the visitors bureau. These groups could bring a combined 73,000 people and $24 million to the region.

The visitors bureau did not identify these 16 other groups in a report released by Denny Edwards, president and chief executive of the visitors bureau. But the report did say that one of the biggest hits would come if Raleigh lost its chance to host an unspecified sports tournament, one that the bureau said could bring in $4.5 million to the local economy. [The Washington Post4/12/16]

The Atlantic: Bruce Springsteen Cancels His North Carolina To Boycott Anti-LGBT Law.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band announced that they were cancelling their April 10 show in Greensboro, NC. Over 15,000 tickets had been sold for the show and officials estimated the cancellation resulted in a $100,000 loss at the venue alone:

City officials did not have a dollar estimate for the lost revenue from foot traffic in restaurants, shops and hotels. Mayor Nancy Vaughan said it would be difficult to quantify as some concertgoers could have become repeat visitors to Greensboro.

“We had so many people that would have been able to see Greensboro, many for the first time, and now we won’t have that hotel and restaurant revenue,” she said. “My other concern is that acts we are currently in negotiations with could look at other venues. People we don’t have contracts with can just automatically take us off the list.”

The cancellation also means lost wages for some workers. At the coliseum, several hundred employees were scheduled to work the concert, according to Brown. [The Atlantic, 4/12/16]

The Charlotte Observer: Some High-Profile Sporting Events Have An Uncertain Future In North Carolina.

According to a statement from the NBA, HB2 could affect the likelihood of Charlotte “successfully hosting” the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. Other athletic associations have expressed concern over the new law, including the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the U.S. Golf Association, which conducts the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open. [The Charlotte Observer, 3/30/16]

Several Companies Have Canceled Multimillion Dollar Expansion Projects Due To Anti-LGBT Law 

WRAL.com: Citing HB2, PayPal Cancels Planned Expansion In Charlotte. PayPal announced on March 18 that they would open a $3.5 million complex in Charlotte, employing 400 people, and having an annual payroll of about $20.7 million. On April 5, the company retracted its decision, citing the governor signing HB2 into law, stating the new law “perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.” [WRAL.com, 4/5/16]

Associated Press: Drug Company Reconsiders Building $20M Factory In North Carolina Because Of Anti-LGBT Law.

The Associated Press reported on April 10 that “New Jersey-based Braeburn Pharmaceuticals said it is ‘reevaluating our options based on the recent, unjust legislation’ whether to build a $20 million manufacturing and research facility in Durham County.” AP further reported that the facility would create 50 new jobs, paying an average salary of nearly $76,000. [Associated Press, 4/10/16]

NY Times: Deutsche Bank Freezes Expansion In North Carolina, Citing HB2 As The Reason For Halting Growth.

The German “financial giant” withdrew plans to expand its technology development center in Cary, NC, which already boasts 900 employees, citing HB2 as the reason for halting its growth. The company planned on spending $9 million on the expansion, creating an additional 250 jobs that were expected to have a total salary package upwards of $21 million annually. [The New York Times, 4/12/16]

North Carolina Could Face Potential Loss Of Federal Funding And Other State Governments’ Spending.

The Washington Post reported on April 4 that at least five federal agencies are in the process of reviewing whether to withhold funds from NC in response to HB2:

The ongoing reviews at the Education, Transportation, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services departments are not yet complete, and it is unclear how much federal money might be involved. But the Obama administration’s decision to scrutinize what White House press secretary Josh Earnest described as “both policy and legal questions that are raised by the passage of this law” suggests that the measure signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last month could have major implications for his state.

Earnest said that “individual agencies are undertaking” the review, and the White House had not issued specific guidance on how to proceed. But he emphasized that President Obama said that “ensuring that individual Americans are not discriminated against because of who they love is something that the president feels strongly about,” and he was not surprised that North Carolina officials “are feeling some pressure” on the issue.

“I can just say that, more generally, this administration is committed to defending and even promoting the equal rights of all Americans, including LGBT Americans,” he added. [The Washington Post, 4/4/16]