HB2 repeal/replacement called “insidious” after new Governor signs “compromise” HB 142
Last week the Associated Press projected North Carolina could lose almost $4 billion over the next dozen years because of their anti-transgender bathroom law and it seems that might have been the final push for lawmakers to finally do something. But the “something” they’ve done, HB142 which Gov. Roy Cooper signed Friday, isn’t enough for equality advocates across the Tar Heel state and the country.
“There can be no compromise on civil rights and HB2 has proven this over the last year,” said Simone Bell, Lambda Legal Southern Regional Director in an email sent after the repeal passed its first vote late last night. ”This so-called “deal” may be an economic quick fix, but it continues to write discrimination into the law.”
While HB142 removes the state-wide requirement for people to use restrooms aligned with their birth gender, not their gender identity, it also says “local governments can’t pass their own ordinances dealing with employment practices and bathroom regulations.” It also forbids public schools, colleges or state facilities from creating bathroom policies which are transgender inclusive.
Democratic Governor Cooper, whose win last year was seen as a kind of referendum on HB2, has called the repeal a “compromise” and said he supported the legislation. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” he told CNN before signing the bill on Friday.
But the folks at Lambda Legal and The ACLU of NC, who are both fighting a lawsuit against the law on behalf of a state employee, are concerned with the lack of input from LGBTQs in the repeal and a cacophony of protests have flooded the internet.
“HB142 repeals HB2 but it replaces it with something even more insidious.” said Tara Borelli, Counsel for Lambda Legal, in an interview with GayRVA. She said the section of the new law dealing with limiting protections from localities may seen innocuous but because of what protections were created – saying you can’t fire someone because they are LGBTQ – banning them continues a pattern of unconstitutional animus against a specific group.
“It isn’t permissible for a state to selectively allow municipalities to protect some communities and not others… it wouldn’t be okay to say a municipality can protect against race and ethnicity discrimination… but to block all protections for LGBT specifically,” said Borelli. ”Thats what the legislature did and thats why its targeted discrimination which is unlawful under any circumstances.”
Lambda Legal and the ACLU of NC were expected to come to Richmond for a federal court hearing in April related to a case against HB2 but HB142 now makes that appeal moot. Borelli said part of the lawsuit dealt with the rest of HB2, but she was now unsure how the legal groups would go forward as of press time.
As for the impacts from repeal, HB142 seems to have gotten the attention one of the biggest state’s biggest HB2 challengers, the NCAA, which had threatened to pull all future championship games from the state if HB2 stayed on the books. In a statement released last week, NCAA president Mark Emmert said his group would need to take time to see if the new law satisfies their concerns.
“The board had four problems with that bill, they’ve removed some of those but not all of them,” Emmert told AP. “They’ve removed two or three, but is that enough?”
In the mean time, The Human Rights Campaign is asking the NCAA to stand strong against the new law which they too see as a partial repeal that still legalizes discrimination.
“After more than a year of inaction, today North Carolina lawmakers doubled-down on discrimination,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “HRC will explore every legal action to combat this dangerous legislation, and we urge all businesses, sports leagues and entertainers who have fought against HB2 to continue standing strong with the LGBTQ community attacked by this hateful law.”
The editorial board at the Charlotte Observer expressed their distain for Cooper’s move as well in an OpEd called “We were wrong about Roy Cooper.” The paper, who endorsed Cooper in part because of his strong words against HB2, condemned the new governor and HB142 as breaking a campaign promise:
Cooper also made a political calculation last week – that it was worth getting HB2 off the books, and that the progressives angry with him now will eventually come back to him the next time he’s fighting Republicans. Cooper also might have calculated, as some progressives have, that this was the best deal he was going to get from Republicans.
But there’s a danger with political calculations. When you start basing decisions on strategy and forget about vows – or about what’s simply right – then voters lose faith in what you tell them. It’s partly what doomed Pat McCrory, who campaigned as a moderate Republican, then betrayed that promise regularly.
“Moderate” GOP Gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie thinks Virginia needs an HB2-style bathroom bill
The Amherst County GOP Dinner this past weekend played host to the state’s three GOP gubernatorial candidates and while scientifically inaccurate answers could be expected from the two trailing candidates, the leading “moderate,” Ed Gillespie, shared a similarly base-less scare tactic against the trans community. “This isn’t about bathrooms alone,” Gillespie (top image) said in [...]April 3, 2017
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