As a nation that credits themselves as being forward thinking, it is extremely important for states within the U.S. to be on the right side of progress. Unfortunately for North Carolina, the passing of recent legislation is causing the state to be looked at rather critically by the rest of the nation for standing on what would be the wrong side of progress.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has made some questionable decisions during his tenure, such as the Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill in 2015, which was apparently the third largest in US history. However, everything seems to pale in comparison to his latest shenanigans. The North Carolina House Bill 2 (HB2) is being called the “most sweeping anti-LGBT legislation ever,” by many publications and citizens.
McCrory has stated that “the law did nothing to change the status quo,” but that obviously was not how Democrats saw it as they left before the vote. The bill passed with an overwhelming amount of support in the House (82-26) and unanimously in the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue was quoted later saying that the law “erases forty years of progress.”
While the biggest scandal surrounding the law has been the issue of denying transgender citizens access to public bathrooms that don’t match their biological gender, the law has many clauses that could be extremely damaging to members of the LGBT community. For example, Section 3.1a declares that “the state will protect citizens’ right to seek, obtain and hold employment without discrimination or abridgement on account of race, religion, color, national origin, age, biological sex or handicap…” North Carolina’s HB2 overturns any LGBT protections that may have existed as it protects discrimination for biological sex only.
This is just one example of how the North Carolina law denies rights to LGBT people. McCrory, however, seems oblivious to this, having tweeted immediately after the bill passing that the “Ordinance defied common sense, allowing men to use women’s bathroom/locker room for instance. That’s why I signed [the] bipartisan bill to stop it.”
Other states and businesses have already voiced their ire at the passing of the bill, resulting in North Carolina facing harsh criticism that could have economic repercussions. The NCAA put out a statement saying they are monitoring the situation. With tournament games scheduled in Greensboro and Charlotte for the next few years, the event locations could be changed. Additionally, corporations such as American Airlines, Biogen, Red Hat, and PayPal have publicly come out against the law. Furthermore, advocacy groups and major corporations have signed petitions demanding the law be repealed.
McCrory, however, seems resistant to change and defiant to criticism. One of his PR spokesman reported that McCrory feels that there is a “well-coordinated, national campaign to smear our state’s reputation after we passed a common-sense law.”
With all the backlash it would seem there is a national campaign to smear McCrory, but not for passing a common sense law, but for passing what is being seen as the grossest violation of civil liberties since the actual Civil Rights movement. If North Carolina wanted to be seen as a progressive state, then they are definitely going about it the wrong way, and thus changing their legacy.
Opinion by Gabrielle Smith
Edited by Cathy Milne
Wall Street Journal: Opponents of North Carolina’s Transgender Law Pressure Governor to Repeal It. Wall Street Journal
ESPN: NCAA monitoring North Carolina anti-discrimination law
North Carolina: Legislature. General Assembly. House Bill 2. Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act. 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 31 Mar. 2016
CNN: North Carolina governor signs controversial transgender bill
WUNC: The Latest News On The Coal Ash Spill in Eden, NC.
ThinkProgress: No, Nothing Pat McCrory Says In Defense Of North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law Is True
Image Courtesy of Mr.Tin DC’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License