On March 23, the North Carolina General Assembly met in special session to pass House Bill 2, or what would become known as the transgender bathroom law.
The outrage was immediate, as it should have been. Transgender people are being forced to use the bathroom assigned to the gender that they no longer identify with.
If you think you don’t know anyone who is transgender, you probably just don’t know who was born with a penis and who was not. You’ve been peeing with them for a long time, I assure you.
The media went wild with news of the bathroom bill. Companies, sports events, entertainers and tourists pledged to boycott North Carolina, costing the state tens of millions of dollars. That fueled even more media attention about this awful bathroom bill.
Except it isn’t a bathroom bill any more than the motorcycle bill of three years ago was about motorcycles (in case you don’t recall, that “motorcycle safety” law is chock full of restrictions on women’s reproductive rights).
Sure, Article One is all about hating transgender people and denying them the right to use the appropriate bathroom, and that’s just wrong on every level.
But read on.
The law goes on to deny people in North Carolina the right to sue for discrimination in state courts. Instead, we’re supposed to go to federal court, which is much more expensive, likely much farther away and has only one-sixth the statute of limitations (six months versus three years). Most people can’t do that.
The law also takes away the power of local governments to set their own discrimination policies or minimum wage. This, of course, helps keep people in poverty so those in power can criticize them as lazy.
But the bathroom part of the law is what’s making headlines and it has fired up the ultra-conservative base.
And this is exactly what the thugs in power planned.
The furor over the clearly unconstitutional bathroom part of the law has drawn attention away from the rest of the law, which is just as egregious.
The US Justice Department has informed the state that this piece of the bill is a violation of US Civil Rights Law. The state can fight that, and if it does, here’s what “leaders” are hoping for:
With a Republican candidate the base isn’t willing to support, the NC GOP puts the bathroom piece of the law on the November ballot. This will bring out their base, who may or may not vote for president, but will vote down-ticket for Richard Burr, Gov. McCrory, Republican candidates for Congress and these very legislators who crafted HB2.
Like Amendment One, which enshrined hatred into the state Constitution, they know this piece of the law is unconstitutional and will be overturned.
But they have what they want: Republicans elected and the rest of the law intact.
Even if they don’t fight the Justice Department decision, the NC GOP has most of what it wants because law has a clause that states if part of it is overturned or repealed, the rest survives.
And there you have it. HB2 is a naked power grab, fueled by hate and written by thugs.
Meanwhile, suicide hotlines are reporting an increase in the number of calls from transgender people. People are being dragged out of bathrooms because they’re not masculine or feminine enough to satisfy some bigot. Men are going into the women’s bathrooms at Target to check on people and “protect” women.
The worst part is that a majority of people who voted for this law are running unopposed for their seats this fall.
In other words, we’re likely to see a return of the thugs to power because no one wanted to get involved and run against them. We have the government we deserve.
On Day One of the new legislative session in North Carolina, it’s clear who will be in charge of the asylum, and it’s not the governor.
I never thought of Pat McCrory as a moderate, but I suppose “moderate” is relative when you’re talking about the right-wing nuts in the General Assembly and their agenda.
I e-mailed McCrory last week and the week before, asking for him to agree to expand Medicaid. But now it appears that the nuts in the Assembly are considering a law that would make it illegal to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act.
Now, they can’t do that, of course. I mean, they can pass a law, but it won’t be legal because state law can’t supersede federal. Still, it sends the powerful message that these people are extremist and we won’t be able to reason with them.
What’s worse is that we’re stuck with them for the next two years because North Carolina has no provision for recalls.
And it’s not just anti-healthcare laws they want to promote; they want to enshrine the state’s regressive right-to-work laws in the Constitution the way they did with their anti-marriage-equality stance.
They want to reduce unemployment compensation to the point people who lose their jobs will have no means to pay their bills, even for a couple of months.
Apparently, they’re introducing these bills without even talking to Gov. McCrory.
I foresee a really nasty couple of years ahead, and I can only hope we can unseat the bastards then.