WTF is the NC GOP up to with the attempted “Bathroom Bill” repeal?

The people who passed HB2 now want to unpass it because they hate teh queers, love the money and fear the people.

[Note: Please forgive the snark in this post. I’m in one of those moods, but despite the tone this is a wholly factual analysis.]

The yahoos who run my native state of North Carolina have been a marvel to watch in recent months. Their latest act was to convene another of their dread “special sessions” for the purpose of repealing the state’s infamously discriminatory HB2 – the “bathroom law.”

Of course, things fell apart. If you’d like a self-serving blow-by-blow from one of the perps, I highly recommend the narrative from NC District 41 (that’s Lincolnton, I believe) Senator Jeff Tarte. If you can’t stomach that, here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

  • Charlotte passes ordinance to outlaw discrimination against LGBT citizens
  • Republican lawmakers pass HB2, which makes it illegal to interfere with civil rights violations against gays, lesbians and transgender citizens
  • The world shuns NC, costing it untold millions of dollars
  • Now, on the way out the door, Gov. “One-Term” Pat McCrory decides to repeal the law
  • However, the repeal fails because apparently it was predicated on Charlotte repealing the ordinance that started the legislative ball rolling in the first place

So, what’s the GOP’s motivation here? I mean, if Charlotte repeals the ordinance and they get rid of HB2, it’s legal to discriminate, just like it is with HB2 in effect. What’s the play?

Here’s what the Republican want.

  1. They hate the queers and want them to go away
  2. They love the money and want it to come back
  3. They fear the public opinion and political blowback and the threat it poses to their stranglehold on power

That last one led them to actually pass a law restricting the power of those who beat them in November, a move that suggests they’d outlaw Democrats entirely if they thought they could get away with it. Stay tuned for an entertaining court battle.

hb2If HB2 remains on the books, the state remains a pariah. Companies continue to leave or avoid setting up shop in NC, bands continue to refuse playing in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and other cities, brain drain becomes an increasing risk because smart people don’t want to live in the 19th century, and it becomes a persistent rallying cry for those who want to unseat them and install a more rational, progressive legislature in the next election.

Let’s be clear. There’s a lot of money in North Carolina and the people who have it seriously dislike anything that threatens the kitty. As is so often the case, those people donate a lot of money to Republican politicians, whose primary charge is to ensure a “healthy business climate.”

HB2 puts that business climate, and the financial interests of the moneyed elite, squarely in the crosshairs. It is a certainty that there have been uneasy conversations between GOP legislators and the rich people they report to, conversations that revolved around a theme. The message would have been something like “make HB2 go away or I’ll bankroll your next opponent!”

As my fraternity brother Victor, who was editor of the Old Gold & Black at Wake Forest back in the early ’80s, once wrote in an editorial, “money talks and bullshit walks.”

The only way these legislators can accomplish their threefold goal is to kill HB2 while still enabling civil rights violations against people they don’t like. (I know, I know, history tells us that a good number of these upstanding Christian values lawmaker types aren’t exactly strangers to gay sex in public restrooms, but let’s stay focused.) If they can get Charlotte to repeal their ordinance, then they can safely get rid of HB2, which a) solves all their problems, and b) may even make them look good in the public eye.

Charlotte kneecapped them, though, and then all of a sudden you had municipal officials in places like Durham saying they were going to pass a Charlotte-style ordinance of their own. This touched off a pearl-clutching case of the vapors for men of genuine goodwill like Sen. Tarte, who could barely fathom how the foundations of trust these fine Republican lawmakers had worked so hard to lay had been so recklessly dynamited.

What a shame.

For now, then, the NC GOP gets to continue owning one of the most toxic issues in the country, and they get to do so during a period where we can expect the passions of more liberal voters to amplify dramatically.

Time for more uneasy conversations with the moneyboys, I reckon.


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