Facing a deadline to do away with a law that turned North Carolina into a national pariah by denying the right of transgender people to use public restrooms of their choice, state lawmakers rashly settled on a terrible compromise.
On Thursday, they repealed the law in name but not in substance, hoping to assuage organizations and employers that have boycotted the state to protest its discriminatory law. The National Collegiate Athletic Association had given state politicians until Thursday to get rid of the law before it would resume holding championship games in the state.
All those who have taken a principled stance against the law, known as H.B. 2, should stand firm. The law’s revision would deprive North Carolinians of protection from discrimination for years, and retains the odious notion that transgender people are inherently dangerous.
“We can never compromise on fundamental civil rights,” William Barber II, the president of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a call with journalists Thursday morning. “It was never just a bathroom bill. It’s a bill that discriminates against so many people in so many ways.”
The original bill, which was signed into law in March 2016 by Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, was in retaliation to an ordinance the city of Charlotte approved weeks earlier barring discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender people. Charlotte’s measure established that transgender people had a right to use public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The state law mandated that transgender people use restrooms that matched the gender marker listed on their birth certificate, and barred localities from enacting laws to protect gays, lesbians and transgender people from discrimination.
It’s mystifying that Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat whose narrow election in November was seen as something of a referendum on H.B. 2, would regard the amended law as a suitable compromise. The repeal law did away with the birth certificate requirement, which was unenforceable all along because it would have turned law enforcement officials into genital inspectors. But it bars schools and other government entities from adopting policies allowing transgender people to use the restroom of their choice. And it still prohibits anti-discrimination ordinances until 2020.<
Mr. Cooper said the compromise with the Republican-controlled legislature was “not perfect,” but he held out hope that the repeal would start to “repair our reputation.” He and other Democrats who supported the compromise said they concluded that a modest step toward undoing the law was the best they could hope for while Republicans have veto-proof majorities in the legislature. That is misguided. The deal was struck days after The Associated Press reported that the backlash against the law would cost North Carolina at least $3.7 billion in business over 12 years.
The Charlotte Observer: HB2 repeal: Cooper turns back on LGBT community
The Huffington Post: North Carolina Repeals HB2, But It Doesn’t Seem To Be Much Of A Repeal At All