Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Shoulda thought of that before signing discrimination into law

Pat McCrory
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is desperately trying to put toothpaste back in the tube with a half-assed, post passed executive order regarding HB2. According to the governor's office, the executive order:
  • Maintains the what they refer to as “common sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities” in government buildings and schools.
  • Affirms the private sector’s right to establish its own restroom and locker room policies.
  • Affirms the private sector and local governments’ right to establish its own non-discrimination employment policies for its own employees
  • Expands the state’s employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Seeks legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination.
In other words the order doesn't do anything. McCrory concedes that the City of Charlotte can now protect city employees from discrimination but not the electorate. Who is government supposed to serve? HB2 (the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act) remains what was passed by the legislature and what he signed into law. Let us recall that McCrory started this mess. In a February memorandum to Charlotte republican councilmen he wrote:
It is not only the citizens of Charlotte that will be impacted by changing basic restroom and locker room norms but also citizens from across our state and nation who visit and work in Charlotte. This shift in policy could also create major public safety issues by putting citizens in possible danger from deviant actions by individuals taking improper advantage of a bad policy. 
I am repeating myself but let us also understand precisely what this bill does, and continues to do. Prior to the enactment of the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, the counties of Buncombe, Mecklenburg, and Orange as well as the cities of Asheville and Charlotte, Boone, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, and Raleigh prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The counties of Durham and Guilford along with the cities of Bessemer, Durham, High Point and Winston-Salem prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. McCrory signed into law legislation that abolished those protections making LGBT people officially second-class citizens. It is a new take on Jim Crow in a Southern state.

Right wingers have a tendency to employ bellicose demagoguery to get what they want. Progressives, not so much. The operative difference is that conservatives try to convince their constituencies that they are on the right side of an issue while liberals try to sway their adversaries. Prior to McCrory signing HB2 businesses were warning the governor that what happened would happen. McCrory probably presupposed that those presentiments were nothing more than the hollow political mischief that he, himself, engages in.

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