HB-2 & You & Me & Us & Them

I wish our state lawmakers would do something useful like pass legislation to Nancy Oatesquell the sex life of trees. My allergies tell me pollen season has started with a vengeance.

Instead, the N.C. General Assembly that wants to see a driver’s license before you vote, now wants to see a birth certificate before you use a public restroom.

Last week — ironically, during the Christian Holy Week — the N.C. General Assembly panicked and spent $42,000 to call an emergency session to rush through in a matter of hours a new law that apparently will prevent local municipalities from prohibiting, in certain circumstances, discrimination against the LGBTQ community. The legislation, known as House Bill 2, ostensibly came about to counter action Charlotte’s city council took that allows people to decide for themselves whether they should use the men’s or the women’s public restroom.

Which public restroom to use can be a source of anxiety to transgender people who know their anatomy doesn’t match the gender they know themselves to be. Evidently not knowing the gender recorded on the birth certificates of others in a public restroom stall strikes fear in the hearts of Republican lawmakers and nearly a dozen Democrats in North Carolina. They cobbled together a bill that tied birth certificate gender to public restroom use, and tacked on rules to prevent local governments from enacting anti-discrimination practices. For example, towns can’t preclude hiring a contractor who discriminates against gays.

There will be legal challenges, for sure. But the bill has a severability clause, which means a court will have to prove each discriminatory measure invalid before HB-2 is struck down. This could take years, and taxpayers will foot the very expensive legal fees. All this from a huddle of elected officials who campaign against government interference in citizens’ lives and who won’t spend taxpayer money on a safety net for the financially vulnerable in our community.

On Saturday, Carrboro’s board of aldermen called a special meeting and passed two resolutions: one objecting to legalizing discrimination and the other denouncing the lawmakers who voted for HB-2. Chapel Hill Town Council will hold a special meeting tonight (March 28, 6 p.m. at Town Hall) to consider the most effective way to respond to HB-2.

I don’t understand how someone with the body parts of a man can be a woman, or how a man can have the anatomy of a woman. But I learned decades ago in a calculus class that just because I don’t understand something doesn’t make it any less true, any less real. In deciding what we as town representatives can and should do about HB-2, I will take my lead from those who have been denied dignity because of who they are.

I don’t know what would be most helpful. I do know we need state lawmakers who don’t try to force on the public only the narrow view of life that the homogenous legislators understand.
– Nancy Oates

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6 Comments

  1. plurimus

     /  March 28, 2016

    Hasty Government;
    Discrimination codified;
    Grim reality.

  2. BikesBelongInCH

     /  April 1, 2016

    Seems whenever the nation takes one step forward, NC now takes two steps back.

    Obamacare becomes law of the land, yet NC turns down $51 billion (over the next decade) in federal medicaid expansion (political spite?) denying health insurance to almost 400k of it’s impoverished citizens.

    Same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, Tea-Party/GA pushes back saying elected officials should be allowed to ignore the law of the land.

    9 people killed by a racist in a SC Church. SC responds by pulling down the Confederate battle flag, NC GA responds by passing laws protecting monuments to the War of Northern Aggression and doubles down on makin’ shur we can have more guns. (Note to GA: The war is over, the South lost, slavery is wrong).

    Perhaps Chapel Hill should take a lesson from NC’s proud secessionist past and secede from the state? Maybe Carrboro would come too.

  3. plurimus

     /  April 1, 2016

    Bikes, I do not think the NCLeg or the Governor will be able to stand up to the corporate pressure being brought to bear.

    Yes. It’s still sad that they are repeatedly on the wrong side of history.

  4. Janet

     /  April 1, 2016

    I’m not against anyone to be who they are. My concern is about sick individuals coming into the ladies room that will prey upon women. These are people that are supposedly transgender when in fact they use that to rape etc….

  5. plurimus

     /  April 2, 2016

    I understand your concern Janet, and it is valid. However, there are already severe criminal penalties for the actions you describe.

    What about this particular law would serve to further demotivate a criminal intent on such behaviour?

    I strenuously object to laws that are solutions in search of a problem, especially when they obscure other political agendas. These laws do nothing to bring people together to solve real problems and reduce us to warring ideological tribes.

  6. No way am I leaving my name to discuss this asinine law

     /  April 3, 2016

    Sen. Tillis calls the rule requiring employees to wash hands after using the toilet “government overreach.” Now NCGA members of his caucus rush HB-2 through with its requirements regarding one’s private parts– which has made NC a laughingstock worldwide.

    I know it’s a smoke-blowing exercise to conceal the General Assembly’s further erosion of local control (HB-2 also prohibits municipalities from establishing local minimum wages), but this is ridiculous! Can the legislators who pushed this through even feel shame? Embarrassment?

    Furthermore, by claiming this new law will stop men from dressing as women so as to enter the ladies’ room in order to bother the occupants, our lawmakers make it appear that NC has had a statewide problem of this very behavior. Well, we haven’t had any of that in all of Orange County, ever!

    The sponsors of HB-2 — Bishop; Stam; Howard; Steinburg; (Primary) Adams; Arp; Avila; Bradford; Brody; Burr; Cleveland; Dixon; Elmore; Hager; K. Hall; Hastings; Hurley; Jones; Jordan; Langdon; S. Martin; McElraft; McNeill; Millis; T. Moore; Pittman; Presnell; Riddell; Robinson; Schaffer; Speciale; Torbett; Warren; Watford; Whitmire; Zachary– they must be bonkers, and they have provoked all kinds of big companies to announce they’d never set up jobs here with this law in place.

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