HB2 Compromise– I’ll take it

So, presumably this should be happening sometime this morning.  Some basic details:

According to a statement from Berger and Moore, the bill would:

▪ Repeal HB2.

▪ Leave bathroom regulation to the state, essentially returning to the status quo before Charlotte passed a 2016 ordinance allowing transgender people to use the restroom of their gender identity.

▪ Enact a moratorium on similar ordinances until Dec. 1, 2020.

Not great.  You know what, though?  Better than the status quo.  Better than anything else we seem likely to get from this bunch of bigots running our state government.  Thus, I’ll take it.  I’m so not a believer in both sides are mad, so this must be a good compromise.  Maybe it just means it’s not good.  I get why the discriminators are mad– they are giving in to some modest degree in the face of pressure.  Not a big fan of the absolutist position of the LGBT advocates, but I get it:

Advocates for the gay community are calling the compromise “a sell out,” while conservatives are equally critical of any move that would negate what they see as a “common sense privacy law.” The latter refers to a highly-debated belief that giving transgender people rights to use the restroom of their choice would allow male sexual predators into women’s restrooms.

NC Values Coalition, which has been a major backer of House Bill 2, is urging state officials to “stand strong” on the widely criticized law. On Thursday, the group was promising to “target” any state official who voted for the compromise “as we did with Governor Pat McCrory.” McCrory lost his bid for re-election last last year, in part due to the HB2 controversy…

The group [Values Coalition] says lawmakers are “scurrying to make concessions just to appease the NCAA,” which has threatened to overlook North Carolina for championship games unless HB2 is repealed by Thursday.

“If the State succumbs to this new form of economic and corporate extortion, North Carolina will be establishing a precedent and illustrating a template for future corporate extortion efforts on any number of legislative issues,” says the coalition.

The Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina, both advocates for the gay community, is urging state lawmakers to reject a backroom “deal” because it offers nothing to improve the life of the state’s LGBT community. In fact, it would specifically prohibit cities from passing policies that give rights to transgender people.

“The rumored HB2 ‘deal’ does nothing more than double-down on discrimination and would ensure North Carolina remains the worst state in the nation for LGBTQ people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The consequences of this hateful law will only continue without full repeal of HB2. Sellouts cave under pressure. Leaders fight for what’s right.”

Chris Sgro, of Equality NC, referred to the proposal as a “train wreck that would double down on anti-LGBTQ discrimination.”

But here’s the thing.  Is there evidence that any amount of pressure will lead to a full, unqualified repeal?  Nope.  None at all.  You know what will?  Voting these rubes out of office.  Okay, work on that.  But the reality is that with this set of Republican “leaders” and this Republican majority, this is almost assuredly the best we’ll get.  I’m all for having good goals and fighting for rights, but I’m also for pragmatism, and that’s what this compromise is.  If it get stop, or at least mitigate, the ongoing damage HB2 is doing to our state, I’ll take it.

A basketball-loving liberal friend, recently posted, “Human Rights > Basketball‬ #HB2.”  Maybe.  But we simply are not going to get full, unqualified repeal.  I’ll take my basketball and economic benefits to the state and a return to the (essentially) 13 months ago status quo when nobody was arguing that NC was a discriminatory hellhole for LGBT people.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

6 Responses to HB2 Compromise– I’ll take it

  1. Terrant says:

    I don’t understand why the government needs to be getting involved. The solution to this whole debate would be the creation of gender neutral (family or unisex) restrooms. You don’t need government for that. Of course, people are making everything more difficult than it needs to be.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Among other things, there’s millions of existing bathrooms that are not unisex and would be expensive to convert.

      • Jon K says:

        Also most men prefer to use a urinal when they are out and about and need to go number 1. I’ve seen a few unisex bathrooms. The conversion seems to usually amount to removal of urinals. When they did that when I was in boarding school, it led to us having to designate specifically which toilets were ok for number 1 and which ones were for number 2. Otherwise you’d need bleach and rags to clean things up before you could sit on those toilets.

        When we begged for our urinals to return, we were told that women are uncomfortable with having urinals present in a restroom. Since our dorm had floors with girls and/or women living on them during the summer our urinals couldn’t return.

  2. Jon K says:

    Since this is as good as it is likely ever going to get with the current legislature, I’m also completely fine with this compromise. I think everyone is best served when this issue is not being used as a political wedge. Having it constantly in the news only makes the bigots get more worked up and more likely to express their bigotry in more and more mean-spirited ways. There is nothing that is going to make bigots stop being bigots, so it’s best to avoid getting them worked up. If there is no issue to demagogue then they are more likely to just live and let live.

    After all, I’ve seen no reports of anyone actually getting in trouble for violating this law. It isn’t like we’ve got cops at the bathroom checking ID.

  3. ohwilleke says:

    The moratorium would pretty clearly and directly violate Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996). https://www.oyez.org/cases/1995/94-1039

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