NC Gov. offers to drop HB2 if Charlotte removes LGBTQ protections, withdraws lawsuit against Fed
Reeling from backlash over House Bill 2, North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is now peddling a so-called compromise under which the General Assembly would repeal the horrific anti-LGBT measure if Charlotte first rescinds its nondiscrimination ordinance.
The proposal backed by McCrory and GOP legislative leaders comes in the wake of decisions this week by the NCAA and ACC to move future championships out of North Carolina — the latest and most devastating consequence the state has suffered since HB2 took effect.
But the proposal, similar to one the Charlotte City Council voted down in May, isn’t really a compromise at all, and seems more designed to salvage McCrory’s re-election chances than anything. Thanks in large part to the unpopularity of HB2, McCrory trails Democrat Roy Cooper — who opposes HB2 — in the polls.
JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, called the proposal “the same cheap trick the North Carolina General Assembly has attempted all along, asking Charlotte to repeal crucial protections for the LGBTQ community and trust they will hold up their end of the bargain on a full repeal of HB2.”
“This arrangement would create problems, not solve them,” Winterhof said in a statement. “It would require Charlotte to drop the very protections for the LGBTQ community that businesses, the NCAA and other organizations have now made clear are needed and are a priority.”
Democratic state Rep. Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, said the state “can’t afford more antics from” McCrory and GOP legislative leaders.
“They are the ones who got us in this situation in the first place and are costing our state millions,” Sgro said. “Hundreds of other cities across the nation already had in place a similar ordinance to Charlotte’s. While important to the LGBT community, it was not unique. What is unique and dangerous is HB2. It’s HB2 that cost us the NCAA, ACC, and the NBA. It’s HB2 that’s causing us economic harm, and it’s HB2 that needs to be repealed. Enough games and blame — repeal HB2.”
The proposed compromise reportedly was brokered by the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, which issued a statement Friday saying it had received assurances from GOP legislative leaders that if the Charlotte City Council repeals the nondiscrimination ordinance on Monday, the General Assembly will meet as early as next week to get rid of HB2.
McCrory’s office later confirmed the deal, according to a report in The Charlotte Observer.
“For the last nine months, the governor has consistently said state legislation is only needed if the Charlotte ordinance remains in place,” said spokesman Josh Ellis. “If the Charlotte City Council totally repeals the ordinance and then we can confirm there is support to repeal among the majority of state lawmakers … the governor will call a special session. It is the governor’s understanding that legislative leaders … agree with that assessment.”
Also Friday, McCrory quietly withdrew the lawsuit he filed in May against the Obama administration as a response to the Dept. of Justice demand he explain if or how he will enforce HB2, his radical, extremist, far-reaching law targeting transgender people. The North Carolina governor cited costs of litigation, noting that his state is also the defendant in a lawsuit filed against him by the Dept. of Justice on similar grounds.
In his Friday filing, McCrory called the Justice Department’s lawsuit “a largely duplicative action,” which is inaccurate.
— Equality Case Files (@EQCF) September 17, 2016
McCrory’s Notice of Voluntary Dismissal also states that “the substantial costs to the State of litigating similar legal issues in two different judicial districts, and the interests of judicial economy and efficiency, plaintiffs feel compelled to file this notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice.”
Earlier this year, the DOJ had told the North Carolina GOP governor HB2 violates the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, giving him until 6 PM Monday, May 9 to respond that he will ensure the illegal law is not enforced.
McCrory’s response was a surprise lawsuit, McCrory v. United States, in which he accused the Obama administration of “a baseless and blatant overreach,” and sought to defend HB2. McCrory’s suit alleged that transgender people aren’t protected under Title XII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, as NCRM reported at the time.
IT should be noted this is not a change in stance or position for McCrory, merely a legal move.
Equality Case Files has the court filing.
At the intersection of politics, religion, law, social justice, and civil rights, The New Civil Rights Movement is a broadly cited media organization delivering news and opinion dedicated to the wide interests of the progressive and LGBT communities.
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