April 18, 2017 Update
The NCAA is officially returning to North Carolina, seven months after yanking multiple championship events from the state over its passage of the anti-transgender law known as HB2. The NCAA on Tuesday announced that it had awarded 10 Division I championship events ― including men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament basketball games ― to the state.
Hardly surprising given that the NCAA has a long history of putting money before principle, but disappointing nonetheless.
You can read the entire story here.
April 5, 2017 Update
“The N.C.A.A. on Tuesday “reluctantly” lifted its ban on holding championship events in North Carolina, removing its six-month-old prohibition less than a week after the state’s Legislature and governor repealed a so-called bathroom bill that had led to boycotts of the state.”
“Last week, the Atlantic Coast Conference, which is headquartered in the state and had joined the N.C.A.A. in moving its neutral-site championships out of the state after the passage of H.B. 2 last year, announced that it was again open to staging such events, like its football title game, in the state. The N.B.A., which moved its All-Star Game in February from Charlotte in response to the old law, is expected to address the issue at its owners’ meeting this week.”
You can read the full story here.
As bad as these decisions are for gay and transgendered people in North Carolina, the worst effect is that they have opened the door for other states to enact similar legislation.
In Texas, for example, the so-called Texas Privacy Act, which requires all Texas residents to use the bathroom or locker room according to the gender on their birth certificates and prohibits local governments from passing ordinances designed to protect gay rights in public restrooms and other “intimate settings,” has already passed the state Senate and will soon be considered by the House.
Enactment seems likely.
Similar legislation is also being considered in many other states, including Tennessee, Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, Washington, Missouri, Kentucky and Kansas.
So thanks again to everyone for putting ideology, profits and bigotry before principle. Your hypocrisy is heartening.
March 31 Original Posting
“Legislators and Gov. Roy Cooper hailed Thursday’s HB2 repeal bill as a compromise. In fact, it is nothing of the kind. It is a betrayal of the promises the governor made to the LGBT community and a doubling down on discrimination by Republican legislators who have backed it all along.”
At least that’s the view of The Charlotte Observer, the largest newspaper in North Carolina’s largest city. It’s also a view with which I agree. You can read the entire editorial here.
As you may recall, House Bill 2 (HB 2) is legislation passed by North Carolina that curbs legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; and, perhaps most contentiously, requires transgender people in public buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate.
It triggered a national backlash from companies, entertainers and sports leagues, among others, that rightly considered it discriminatory. Performers like Bruce Springsteen canceled concerts, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have moved high-profile sporting events out of the state as result.
That’s cost North Carolina a ton of money and a lot of lost pride.
It’s hard to believe this latest bipartisan sellout is anything except an effort to repair the damage to North Carolina’s economy posed by the boycott following the passage of House Bill 2. A recent Associated Press analysis found that HB 2 would cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over the next dozen years.
That’s a lot of money and apparently both Democrats and Republicans are prepared to sell out the state’s LGBTQ community to avoid the economic pain. The announcement came as the NCAA reportedly said that North Carolina sites would not be considered for championship events from 2018 to 2022 “absent any change” in House Bill 2. North Carolina cities, schools and other groups have offered more than 130 bids for such events.
The proposal enacted today would repeal House Bill 2, but leave state legislators in charge of policy on public restrooms. Local governments would be denied the right to pass new nondiscrimination protections for workplaces, hotels and restaurants until December 2020.
While everyone who supported this sell out deserves criticism, the biggest share of the blame goes to Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.
Cooper campaigned on the harm HB 2 did to LGBTQ people and his narrow election victory last November depended critically on the votes of the gay community. But neither Cooper nor any other Democrat supporting this cop out “bothered to consult an LGBTQ civil rights group or even an LGBTQ person across the state of North Carolina before proposing the egregious ‘repeal’ (that’s really not a repeal).” Read more here.
What remains to be determined is whether the NCAA and others boycotting North Carolina will be satisfied by the changes. As Nancy Armour of USA Today put it: “The NCAA has a rare opportunity to create change, both in North Carolina and other states [like Texas] considering similar laws.”
To put it another away, is a token repeal of HB 2 that leaves the same bigotry in place good enough?
Let’s hope not.