North Carolina blindsided Charlotte, failing to repeal the discriminatory bathroom law
If you need a reminder that you should never sell yourself out, just look at Charlotte, North Carolina. Last week, the city repealed an anti-discriminatory city ordinance after striking a deal with state lawmakers who promised to repeal HB2 in return. But a week later, North Carolina still hasn’t repealed HB2, the discriminatory law that (among other things) requires transgender people to use public bathrooms and changing rooms corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate. HB2 also says that state laws always override city laws — which was the whole point of the law in the first place, to stop cities like Charlotte from passing laws the state doesn’t agree with.
After losing somewhere around $400 million in business and being threatened by the Justice Department, North Carolina seemed to think the fight wasn’t worth it (the failed deal wasn’t about LGBTQ rights, of course, but the cash). But when it came time to actually repeal the law, North Carolina Republicans got stuck on a few things. First of all, they called Charlotte City Council members “liars” and used oddly dramatic metaphors about blood soaked hands because Charlotte didn’t repeal the entire anti- discrimination ordinance, just the part about transgender bathroom use that corresponded to HB2. The city still has a law on the books saying it won’t enter into contracts with businesses that have discriminated against people and other provisions the state doesn’t like.
The state’s Republicans are literally fighting with everything they have FOR discrimination.
North Carolina Republicans are also a little cranky that Charlotte put a provision in its resolution last week saying it would repeal its ordinance as long as the state repeals HB2 by Dec. 31. State lawmakers were not down for this liberal town giving them a deadline. On Wednesday, Republican Senator Phil Berger tried to pass a bill that would essentially leave HB2 in place for six months by blocking localities from passing any ordinances about public accommodations or even things like the minimum wage. So Charlotte, for example, couldn’t just put its anti-discriminatory ordinance back in place. That bill was obviously bullshit and a compromise North Carolina Democrats weren’t going to accept.
So, now everyone’s back to square one, fighting over whether or not cities in North Carolina can pass laws to protect their citizens from discrimination. Seriously. And the rhetoric from Republicans is starting to reach “fire and brimstone” levels. Republican Senator Buck Newton told The Chicago Tribune they’ve been working “hard to protect our families, and women and children from the risk that might be imposed by these lunatic ordinances that the lunatic left in Charlotte and other places want to enact.” The children! Think about the children! Seriously, who is the lunatic here?
North Carolina Republicans are fighting an unpopular battle, fueled by hate and a hunger for power — not a great look. Hopefully North Carolina’s Senate can get some work done and do the right thing by the end of the year. Otherwise, Charlotte really got swindled into taking its anti-discrimination law off the books. It’s a good thing the city put that deadline provision in there.