Pat McCrory has a point. An awful, awful point.
Updated: November 14, 2017 at 11:18 am
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“House Bill 2 was really never repealed,” he bragged of the bill he signed into law in the middle of the night. A law that made the state a laughing stock that is still getting played for laughs, and cost us millions in revenue and thousands of jobs.
It was “repealed” and replaced with House Bill 142, which maintained the anti-LGBTQ status quo until at least 2020. HB142 prevents cities from passing nondiscrimination ordinances protecting the LGBTQ community, including providing protections for transgender bathroom use.
Gov. Roy Cooper signed HB142, and once again we were reminded that the Republicans will fight dirty to the death and win even when all seems lost, while the Democrats are the uninspiring party of few and far between moral “victories” trumpeted as heroic achievements.
And in case you would like some salt for that wound, let me remind you of your current choices for Charlotte mayor.
On the “Dear God No” side, you have Republican Kenny Smith, who voted against the Charlotte LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance two years running, and has said that he could use his veto power against it in future.
On the “I mean, I guess” side, you have Democrat Vi Lyles, who pushed for an amended ordinance in 2015 that would leave transgender people behind, and despite voting for the full ordinance last year was right by Smith’s side in meetings with the North Carolina General Assembly begging for a compromise.
I would love to tell you how she feels about that compromise, and her efforts to broker it, but the campaign has still failed to provide answers, aside from a few boilerplate paragraphs informing me of her experience and talking up her achievements and where she hopes to put her focus if she wins.
I was told this answered “99 percent of my questions,” which, as I told them, I highly dispute. Frankly, that’s putting it mildly.
Lyles was endorsed by the local LGBTQ organizations — a fact I was reminded of by the campaign on more than one occasion — after those groups all backed Roberts in the primary.
“All of the restrictions that were in place last October are in place this October,” McCrory said. “Nothing’s changed, but it is one of the best kept secrets in the media and in politics. Everyone’s pretending the problem’s solved and we’re going to move on.”
That’s true, too. The NBA, the NCAA, and just about everyone else has rushed to come back to the state now that “HB2 has been repealed.”
All it took was the headline to change the narrative enough to return business and basketball to the state, which is, and always has been, more important to North Carolina than LGBTQ rights.
Good enough. In politics, capitalism, and civil rights.
To end on a cautiously optimistic note, Cooper recently filed a consent decree saying trans people’s rights to use bathrooms matching their identity should be protected. On the same day, he extended LGBTQ protections to those working for the state, receiving state services, or working for a company that contracts with the state.
But scratch that, I don’t want to end on that note. I want to be end on a realistic note: McCrory, God help me, is right. This state is still telling LGBTQ people every day that they are not equal.
And until that is fixed, and not in half measures, I don’t want to hear any “New South” talk, and I’m still going to laugh-cry at your “Always Welcome” signs.
North Carolina, you still have a problem.
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About the author: Jeff Taylor is a journalist, artist and social media editor. In addition to QNotes, his work has appeared in publications such The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing Charlotte, LGBTQ Nation and The Pride L.A. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport and has lived in Charlotte since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @jefftaylorhuman.