Republicans Holding Special Session Today to Pass Sweeping Anti-Gay Legislation
Led by Republican House Speaker Tim Moore (photo), and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, the president of the Senate, lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly will meet today to pass a bill that will ban all LGBT protection ordinances throughout the state. The unprecedented move is a direct response to the Charlotte City Council's lawful passage of an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance last month. That law, which would have gone into effect April 1, riled conservatives by allowing transgender residents to use public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
The proposed bill is broad. Not only does it void LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances throughout the state, it attacks transgender citizens by revoking their right to use public restrooms based on gender identity. It also mandates that only the General Assembly is allowed to regulate public accommodations, such as restrooms.
But it goes even further, mandating that only the General Assembly can regulate employment discrimination ordinances – another assault directed at LGBT citizens.
The bill is entitled, “An Act to Provide for Single Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations.” According to WNCN, it will require "that multi-occupancy bathrooms be limited to just one gender, using anatomy and birth certificates as a guide."
It "allows school districts to use single occupancy bathrooms to make accommodations for students in special circumstances," but it's unclear what those special circumstances are.
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who threatened "immediate state legislative intervention" if Charlotte passed a nondiscrimination bill, is expected to sign the legislation.
Today's special session will cost taxpayers $42,000.
If the move by Republican lawmakers sounds patriarchal, it is. It violates the civil rights of North Carolina's LGBT citizens, but it also violates the rights of local cities and towns to create laws to protect their citizens. And, it violates the will of the people, who, according to polls, don't believe lawmakers should pass the bill.
"Only 25% of voters in the state think the General Assembly should override Charlotte's recently passed anti-discrimination ordinance, compared to 51% who think Charlotte should have the right to pass its own laws without interference from on high," Public Policy Polling reports. "There's actually bipartisan consensus on the issue with Democrats (58/17), independents (48/21), and Republicans (45/38) alike believing Charlotte's new law should be left alone by the General Assembly."
Equality North Carolina posted this tweet:
Image: Screenshot via Carolina Business Review/YouTube