No basketball game, corporation, or entertainment event is worth even one little girl being sexually assaulted in a bathroom or one 14-year old girl losing her privacy and dignity to a 14-year old boy in a locker room. Nor is it worth one business owner being put out of business or losing their livelihood. Efforts for a compromise on North Carolina’s privacy protections law had been going for on for months, almost as soon as the bill pass, and continued past the November election. Strangely and suddenly during Christmas week Charlotte City Council agreed to a deal to reset both HB2 and Charlotte’s ordinance and it appeared that the compromise many had sought would be a done deal but the deal between Roy Cooper, Jennifer Roberts and the General Assembly ultimately fell apart because of mistrust.
The way Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts and her City Council, EqualityNC and the Human Rights Campaign pushed through Charlotte’s ordinance is where all the mistrust started. Their ordinance forced the General Assembly to act quickly to prevent the ordinance from going into effect to stop the City of Charlotte from running over Article VII Section 1 of the NC Constitution, which says, “The General Assembly….may give such powers and duties to counties, cities and towns and other governmental subdivisions as it may deem advisable.” On multiple occasions Rep Dan Bishop, Governor McCrory, Speaker Tim Moore and others advised, warned and pleaded with Charlotte leaders not to pass the ordinance but their ultimate response was “Raleigh will do what Raleigh will do” and with a raised back and defiant spirit City Council passed their egregious ordinance.
From the beginning the grand compromise had all the signals of a political trap. Although City Council said they repealed their ordinance it was discovered they really did not. This added gasoline to the already heightened mistrust issues between Council and the General Assembly. Then EqualityNC and Human Rights Campaign along with a Democratic Councilman in Durham took to social media to declare that once the General Assembly repealed HB2, their intent was to pass Charlotte-like ordinances and Roberts declared to LGBT advocates that there was a “long-game.” Although Council did come back early Wednesday morning to fully repeal their non-discrimination the damage had already been done. Senator Berger added to the repeal language of SB4, a cooling off period which he called a “moratorium on local governments” to prevent municipalities from passing any local ordinance regulating employment practices or regulating public accommodations or access to restrooms, showers or changing facilities.”
Roy Cooper cried foul and claimed the moratorium was nothing more than HB2 2.0 and was simply extending the discrimination in North Carolina before HB2 was passed. During the Senate debate Governor Elect Roy Cooper, who crafted the deal for the Hb2 Repeal, took the unexpected position of privately contacting Senators to vote against the repeal. At the end of the day it was a lack of trust between Democrat and Republican members in the Senate as well as mistrust between Raleigh and Charlotte that killed the Repeal Deal and let HB2 Stand. We celebrate the Christmas season and enter into a new year encouraged that our leaders did not sacrifice the privacy, safety, or freedom of young girls by forcing them to use the bathroom, shower, or change clothes with grown men just to satisfy the demands of greedy businesses, immoral sports organizations, or angry mobs. Although the repeal deal was orchestrated by Governor-Elect Roy Cooper, not a single Democrat in the Senate voted for the repeal.
As the General Assembly convenes in January surely we can all agree that fashion designers, bakers, florist, wedding chapels and all citizens should have the freedom to live and work according to their beliefs and live without facing discrimination or risk of fines and/or losing their job.