Thursday, December 22, 2016

Agreeing to a deal

I’ve written several times about the nasty “bathroom bill” in North Carolina, the one that removes protections for LGBT people, including requiring transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds to their birth certificate.

Before I get to the latest shenanigans around this bill, a bit of history. Before 2016 LGBT people in NC had few rights. Discrimination against them was legal. Several cities had passed local ordinances offering protections against discrimination within their borders. Charlotte did the same in February 2016.

In March the state legislature called a special session so the Senate and House, each taking a mere five hours, rammed through the “bathroom bill” to overturn the ordinances Charlotte and other cities had passed and added a few more nasty provisions, such the transgender bathroom provision.

Reaction was swift. Many corporations declared they would not move to or expand in NC. Many entertainers canceled concerts. Sports organizations moved championship games out of the state. In all, a big economic hit, likely over $600 million.

Over the months since then there were talk of a deal – Charlotte would repeal its ordinance and the legislature would repeal the nasty bill. Charlotte always refused, saying their LGBT citizens needed those protections. The deal meant the lives of LGBT people would be a bit better than now, but discrimination would still be legal.

In November this widely hated bill was likely the big reason why Pat McCrory, the governor who pushed for and signed the bill, was not reelected, losing by a slim margin.

After McCrory finally conceded the deal was discussed again. This time Charlotte agreed. Earlier this week they repealed their ordinance. McCrory complained this showed the Charlotte city council refused only so the issue could be used against McCrory to oust him from office.

And, in another special session, the legislature … punted.

I’m not sure of the details. There seem to be two repeal bills, one for a total repeal, another implementing a half-repeal, I think including a wait of six months to prevent cities from enacting local protections. This caused a bit of feuding within the GOP. Both bills failed.

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