Concerned members of Winston’s LGBTQ Community and their allies packed City Hall Monday night. They patiently waited their turn to publicly comment on House Bill 2. After the city council finished debating other matters, Councilman Dan Besse introduced his resolution condemning House Bill 2. Besse criticized House Bill 2 as an unConstitutional legislative over-reach by Governor McCrory and the General Assembly. Besse said that House Bill 2 was bad legislation that would among other things, ban Winston-Salem from awarding city contracts to minority businesses.
But for all the LGBTQ folks that packed City Hall House Bill 2 was personal, it was an attack on them. Speaker after speaker took to the microphone to tell of their struggles as a transgender man or woman in a straight society. It was great to hear so many LGBTQ voices eloquently expressing their opposition to House Bill 2. LGBTQ folks have difficult enough lives as it is. They don’t need the State of North Carolina to make their lives more difficult. They need anti-discriminatory LGBTQ laws that protect the rights of gay/trans folks in the workplace and in housing. The right to marry isn’t enough.
McCrory and the General Assembly meant to pass legislation that would fire-up their base during this election year, but they fired-up the wrong side! There may be consequences for the North Carolina GOP this November, especially with the top of their ticket looking so weak. The NC GOP miscalculated on Amendment One in 2012. When it was overturned in 2014 gay marriage finally became legal North Carolina. When House Bill 2 is eventually overturned it will also lead to more LGBTQ rights in North Carolina. Blowback is a bitch!
The new state law was hastily passed last Wednesday during a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly. House Bill 2 is ostensibly a right-wing, GOP reaction to Charlotte’s recent law allowing transgendered folks to go to the bathroom that corresponds to the gender that they identify with. One one level it’s an election year ploy to rally the GOP’s base. There has been a concerted right-wing effort to insinuate that allowing folks to go to the bathroom that they are most comfortable with is akin to putting a sex offenders welcome sign on all public bathrooms in Charlotte. Republicans don’t like penis and vaginas using the same bathrooms.
But what happens behind the closed door of a bathroom stall is really no politicians’ business. It certainly doesn’t necessitate a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly. You would think that Governor McCrory and the General Assembly have more important matters to deal with than bathroom politics. In fairness House Bill 2 is sweeping in its scope. Beyond barring cities like Charlotte from enacting legislation that protects vulnerable transgender minorities, it strips cities throughout the state of their right to pass local laws reflecting the progressive will of their constituencies. Beyond policing bathrooms, House Bill 2 cuts the nuts off of NC municipalities. That’s why it must be opposed by all people of good conscience.