It’s a simple case, but, unfortunately, a common case of “if you do to me what I say is okay to do to you, you are persecuting me”.
North Carolina’s legislature, like Georgia’s, passed a religious freedom bill that allows for discrimination against GLBT people after members had only five minutes to read the proposed legislation, which allowed no time to do any research or reasonable consideration about it and its implications, and then went through a whirl wind 10 hour debate, if they even took that long as they did break for lunch, before voting, with the governor breathlessly anticipating its arrival on his desk so he could sign it the moment it did.
And he did.
Obviously, there was no intention to deal seriously with the bill, and the procedure to get it passed and signed was simply pro-forma.
Needless to say, not only the content of the bill met with negative responses by reasonable people, but so did the swiftness of its passage.
Wham, bam, thank you ma’am. It was a done deal, with no time for a cigarette after the act.
Now Governor Pat McCrory who couldn’t wait to sign the bill has issued a strongly accusatory statement claiming that GLBT groups, civil rights groups, and the media are trying to “slander” his state.
A law suit was filed Monday in federal court because the bill voids anti-discrimination protections granted to GLBT citizen in nine locales, and goes further in preventing any town, city, or county from enacting GLBT protection ordinances in the future.
You see, although God gave us our rights, like the one to own guns, the rights of certain people can only be given by the will of the people or the vote of a legislature because they do not approve of what God hath wrought.
It’s interesting how those who claim to be the most religious, who boast of being the servants of the Lord, insist on their will being greater than His, and they have the right to control Him.
“The governor respects the right of any legal challenges; however, he does not respect the continued distortion of the facts by the groups challenging this law and by many members of the state and national media,” the governor’s press secretary, Graham Wilson, said.
“To counter a coordinated national effort to mislead the public, intimidate our business community and slander our great state, the governor will continue to set the record straight on a common sense resolution to local government overreach that imposed new regulations on businesses that intruded into the personal lives of our citizens.”
This, of course, seems to be a little blind to the fact that the state telling towns what they can and cannot do for their citizens is a form of overreach, and that removing nondiscrimination protections for GLBT people who live in those towns seems to imposed new regulations that intrude into the personal lives of citizens.
His official statement glosses over the bill’s removal of recently approved protections in municipalities, and ignores that they saw the existing protections had not been thorough enough and needed some fine tuning when he said,
“The non-discrimination policies in place today in cities like Raleigh, Greensboro and Asheville and in every business in North Carolina are the same as they were last month and last year.”
A year ago they were not inclusive and lacked necessary protections. Is he implying that no laws should be enacted that have not already existed?
In spite of the fact that major North Carolina newspapers had written articles about the original defeat of Charlotte’s first attempt to pass its more inclusive ordinance which resulted in its passage the second time around, the governor asked,
“Where was this coordinated outrage and media attention when the original bathroom ordinance was defeated in Charlotte just last year?”
The simple answer is, “It was in the media in your state.”
But North Carolina’s governor may not get off as easy as he hopes.
Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s Attorney General, says he will not defend the anti-GLBT bill in court, and he’s making clear that includes the court of public opinion. He has called the bill “unconstitutional,” “shameful,” and “a national embarrassment.”
Cooper warns it will “set North Carolina’s economy back” if it is not repealed.
He also predicts a “flood of litigation,” while the first law suit has been filed.
The ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal, and three individuals filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina based on the 14th Amendment and Title IX of the Education Act of 1972.
“By singling out LGBT [sic] people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, H.B. 2 violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution.”
The proof of directed and pointed animus is that the legislature “rushed to convene a special session with the express purpose of passing a statewide law that would preempt Charlotte’s ‘radical’ move to protect its residents from discrimination.”
The suit points out that
“In a process rife with procedural irregularities, the legislature introduced and passed H.B. 2 in a matter of hours, and the governor signed the bill into law that same day. Lawmakers made no attempt to cloak their actions in a veneer of neutrality, instead openly and virulently attacking transgender people, who were falsely portrayed as predatory and dangerous to others. While the discriminatory, stated focus of the legislature in passing H.B. 2—the use of restrooms by transgender people—is on its own illegal and unconstitutional, H.B. 2 in facts wreaks far greater damage by also prohibiting local governments in North Carolina from enacting express anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Like the two transgender plaintiffs in the case, transgender people around the state of North Carolina immediately suffered harm under H.B. 2 in that they are not able to access public restrooms and other singlesex facilities that accord with their gender identity. LGBT people are also harmed by H.B. 2 in that it strips them of or bars them from anti-discrimination protections under local law.”
Plaintiffs are asking for declaratory judgment.
In 17 states and 225 cities with laws banning GLBT discrimination, there are no known instances of the rules being used to defend or facilitate predatory behavior in bathrooms or locker rooms.
The whole thing is simply favoring one group’s beliefs over those of others and showing favoritism to one religious set of beliefs.
And this obvious assault, just as that attempted in Georgia, is not sitting well with organizations that bring money into the state, and whose employees, and people indirectly connected to them, could face discriminatory treatment if they are in North Carolina.
Many major U.S., multi-national, and North Carolina billion-dollar corporations, and institutions, that do business, pay taxes, and employ many people are against this bill, companies like Apple, American Airlines, Bank of America, Biogen, Burt’s Bees, Citrix, Dow Chemicals, Duke University, ESPN, Facebook, Google, IBM, Lowe’s, the NBA, the NCAA, PayPal, and Redhat.
To show he supports his state, the governor, in total tunnel vision, released a statement that said,
“The governor looks forward to cheering for the UNC Tar Heels in the NCAA Final Four being played in Houston, a city that defeated a similar bathroom ordinance referendum last year with over 61% of the vote.”
He proudly boasts that he will be in a city that allows discrimination, which seems to say that he is fine with one city in a state codifying discrimination while he signed a bill that would not allow any city in his state to sign one that removes discrimination.
Obviously, bad ordinances are acceptable to him, but good ones aren’t.
And the poor thing, bless his heart, seems totally unaware that while he is cheering on the Tar Heels, he has signed a bill that may very well make it okay to discriminate against some of them.