North Carolina's Governor Explains Why He Just Made a Horrific Bill Law
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On Wednesday in a special session North Carolina lawmakers rammed through HB2, a bill that they were granted a mere five minutes to read before beginning debate. A bill that literally made its way through both chambers of the General Assembly, onto the governor's desk, and signed into law in a mere 12 hours.
Even before the City of Charlotte began debate on a bill to extend nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people, North Carolina's Governor Pat McCrory issued a strong threat. He told City Council members, "this action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate State legislative intervention which I would support as governor."
As soon as the Mayor of Charlotte signed the nondiscrimination ordinance, McCrory and top elected Republican lawmakers sprung into action. They threw the state into chaos, which affected even school aged children. One, a sixth-grader whose best friend is transgender, wrote an op-ed in a local paper urging Gov. McCrory to stop his hypocritical campaign. Wisely, she said, "many people have a similar opinion to McCrory’s, and this opinion is that it puts cisgender people at risk. They say that some people may pretend to be transgender just to 'stalk' people in the bathroom."
"My response is that maybe someone might do this, but he or she will be caught, and some people just need to use the bathroom," Joanna de Andrade, 11, reminded him.
Joanna de Andrade is far from the only North Carolinean who opposed the bill lawmakers rammed through Wednesday.
"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 reported one day before the governor signed HB2 into law.
So, what is HB2?
The bill is broad. In fact, Mother Jones on Wednesday called it "the Broadest Anti-LGBT Bill in the Country." 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 state lawmakers can pass laws regulating employment discrimination, the use of public accommodations, and minimum wages – removing the right of self determination from every town and city across the state.
Why did Gov. McCrory push for and sign the bill into law?
“The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte," McCrory trumpeted in a statement after signing the bill Wednesday night.
Yes, Gov. Pat McCrory signed "the Broadest Anti-LGBT Bill in the Country" to prevent "government overreach."
Ironic, isn't it?
Remember, 17 states and over 200 cities nationwide have laws like the one the Charlotte City Council passed, and it's "never been an issue."
McCrory called Charlotte's nondiscrimination ordinance a "radical breach of trust and security under the false argument of equal access," and claimed that it "not only impacts the citizens of Charlotte but people who come to Charlotte to work, visit or play," ignoring that Charlotte's transgender citizens need protection regardless of who else is in the restroom. McCrory cried the ordinance "defies common sense and basic community norms."
McCrory stated HB2 "does not change existing rights under state or federal law." But it does under several other North Carolina cities, whose LGBT nondiscrimination laws are now null and void.
“It is now time for the city of Charlotte elected officials and state elected officials to get back to working on the issues most important to our citizens,” McCrory concluded.
That's what state elected officials should have been doing all along.
Image via Wikimedia