North Carolina Republicans Are Smarmy Anti-Trans Motherfuckers and Didn’t Hold Up Their Part of the HB2 Repeal

photo via Reuters

In a surprise twist that no one saw coming — JK, you probably saw this coming! — North Carolina Republican lawmakers didn’t honor their word when they said they would repeal HB2 in full. Instead they delivered a half-assed deal that kinda repeals HB2 with a major stipulation.

The bill they filed, SB4, does repeal HB2, including the restrictions against trans people using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender. But the catch is that it comes with a “Six-Month Cooling-Off Period” in which: “No local government in this State may enact or amend an ordinance regulating employment practices or regulating public accommodations or access to restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.” The state Senate and House of Representatives now need to vote on the bill.

Encouraged by Governor-elect Roy Cooper, the Charlotte City Council repealed their non-discrimination ordinance and in exchange the General Assembly called a special session to repeal HB2 entirely. It seemed like the city council was under the impression they would be able to repass their ordinance as soon as HB2 was repealed. Now with this “Six-Month Cooling-Off Period” that’s not the case and LGBTQ people, especially trans people, in North Carolina won’t have any legal protections for at least six months. So while they may not be specifically targeted in the exact same way, they also aren’t protected at all.

In other words, Republicans didn’t keep their end of the deal, and never intended to. HB2 already prevented municipalities from passing non-discrimination protections, so with this added moratorium HB2 gets to live for at least six more months.

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Rep. Chris Sgro, a Democrat and an openly gay legislator, told CNN the waiting period could be renewed again and again. “It’s going to continue discrimination,” Sgro said. “We had better see a clean repeal bill if we are going to actually clean up the mess that these folks have made in the state of North Carolina.”

UPDATE: According to ThinkProgress, once the bill’s language was revealed, Cooper told Democrats to oppose supporting the repeal because of the 6-month waiting period. Now it seems that lawmakers will not pass anything at all. Without the support of Democrats, there aren’t enough Republican votes to pass the repeal with the 6-month moratorium.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.

9 Comments

  1. …. and in the process, I would say those lawmakers who promoted HB 2 have scored a victory, by exposing and exploiting a divide in support for general protections versus those more directly needed by transgender people.

    It will be hard to forget the willingness to set aside those protections, and I would be even less surprised to see efforts in other states to exploit those rifts.

  2. The same folks who in a midnight session, stripped the incoming Gov. of many powers. One thing is clear, if you are trans or support folks who are – stay the F$%* out of NC. They don’t want that, and they do not care at all how it looks.

    I know I won’t go there, buy from there, or click a link that relates.

  3. People, the trans issues may be of interest to the readers of this site, and the bill may have been sold to the voters as the “bathroom bill”, but there’s a lot more in the bill that affects people of all orientations and identities. The law prohibits cities from passing local minimum wages above the federal (and statewide) minimum wage. There is also a provision that makes it more difficult to sue employers for discrimination OF ANY TYPE. The suit must now be filed a maximum of 1 year rather than 3 years after the incident. We see the Ledbetter effect here. If the business can successfully argue that there is no eligible incident because the wage differential occurred at the time of hiring more than 1 year ago, the plaintiff is SOL if they discover evidence that they have been discriminated against more than 10 or 11 months out from the hiring date.

    The Democrats have had a total fail for not getting the pro-business, anti-employee content of the bill noticed by ordinary white voters, or for that matter, voters who don’t know anything about transgender people.

    The anti-trans provisions were probably intended as a distraction from the broad economic and discrimination issues affecting a much larger segment of the population.

    • P.S. In no way do I wish to diminish the impact of HB2 on trans people. My post above is a commentary on the ineffective communications strategy of Democratic opponents, and the Republican use of any scapegoat at hand, trans here, to distract the public from seeing the anti-employee anti-average or lower income people aspects of the bill.

  4. Update: Tonight, Governor-elect Roy Cooper held a brief press conference to respond to the results (or lack thereof) of this special session. Cooper revealed that the deal was a result of consultation with business leaders (read: Chamber of Commerce), the NCAA, ACC and NBA.

    According to Cooper, the six month “cooling off period” was not part of the original deal and it came out of nowhere, likely as part of an effort by Senate Leader Berger to mollify his right flank. Cooper praised the Charlotte City Council for their leadership and excoriated the legislature.

    According to Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange), there was a majority, 64 votes (24 Rs, 40 D), for a full repeal in the House. The leadership just didn’t want to put a clean bill on the floor.

    Darren Jackson, who was just elected Minority Leader in the NC House and who has been unrelenting in his fight to repeal HB2, has promised to spill all the tea about the behind-the-scenes machinations tomorrow. If you’re interested, DarrenJNC is a must-follow.

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