North Carolinians should not rest until House Bill 2 is fully repealed. Passed into legislation by former Governor Pat McCrory, this discriminatory policy has abolished certain rights of NC’s LGBTQ community over the past year and a half. Current governor Roy Cooper has taken measures to dismantle the bill, failing once in December, and prevailing with an unsatisfactory replacement bill at the end of March. Many people are rightfully angered by Cooper’s limited actions. While a full restoration of LGBTQ rights is essential, Cooper’s actions were warranted because making partial progress is better than none against the veto-proof Republican majority.
Under the replacement House Bill 142, state and local governments are not allowed to regulate who uses multiple occupancy restrooms unless it is in compliance with state law. In addition, this bill forbids local governments from passing nondiscriminatory employment policies until Dec. 1, 2020. This provides adequate time for current transgender court cases to be resolved. Even though this provision repeals HB2, much of the LGBTQ community and its supporters are still outraged. A wide range of protestors emerged, ranging from local activists to international celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner.
“This is not a repeal of HB2. Instead, they’re reinforcing the worst aspects of the law,” said James Esseks, the director of the ACLU LGBT Project in a public statement. “North Carolina lawmakers should be ashamed of this backroom deal that continues to play politics with the lives of LGBT North Carolinians.”
Esseks’ statement reflects how many minorities feel in North Carolina. To this day, they are still being cheated of many personal freedoms. This includes the lack of anti-discriminatory policies in employment and the rejection of lawsuits over discriminatory firing. Ideally, a full repeal of HB2 would immediately protect individual rights in employment, security, and well being. Unfortunately, the Republican majority in the state’s legislature is taking every measure possible to deny certain groups their personal freedom. One of the only reasons the majority decided to pass HB142 was to bring revenue back to the state. According to the Associated Press, HB2 would cost the state 3.76 billion dollars over the course of 12 years. With the passing of the new bill, the NCAA lifted their ban on NC hosting games in the future. By lifting this ban, the NCAA and other businesses are failing to condemn the state’s discriminatory legislation.
Since the beginning of Cooper’s time in office, the veto-proof Republican majority has tried to take away certain powers from the governor. Naturally, they were not going to fully repeal a bill that was legislated under their party. In dealing with the state’s bipartisan politics, Cooper’s compromise was successful in gaining leverage with the conservatives.
“In a perfect world with a good General Assembly, we would have repealed House Bill 2 fully today and added full statewide protections for LGBT North Carolinians,” said Cooper in a recent press conference. “[The repeal] is not a perfect deal and it’s not my preferred solution. It stops short of many things we need to do as a state,” Cooper continued.
Until this legislation is fully repealed, it is up to the people to voice their opinions to the North Carolina state government. No matter where a person comes from, their message has the ability to influence powerful politicians. This is why North Carolinians must continue to support Cooper in his fight against discriminatory legislation. Behind every strong leader is a crowd of dutiful followers, and it is up to the people to prove that we have had enough hate in our state.