McCrory tries to sidestep HB 2 fallout

 

McCrory

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says the state legislature may consider repealing H.B. 2, but only if the city of Charlotte repeals its LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance first.

Charlotte mayor warns McCrory not to blame her city for his mistake

Lisa Keen |   Keen News Service
lisakeen@mac.com

North Carolina is a battleground on two fronts these days: Over the state’s recently enacted anti-LGBT law and over the political race for the White House.

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Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said her city is “a welcoming community that honors and respects all people.”

And at least one of those battles could come to a major turning point this week.

In a strange twist, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday, Sept. 16, said he’d call a special session of the state legislature this week to consider repealing HB2 — but only if the city of Charlotte first repealed its non-discrimination law. That law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as race, sex, and other categories.

According to local news reports, McCrory’s communication office issued this statement Friday:

“For the last nine months, the governor has consistently said state legislation is only needed if the Charlotte ordinance remains in place. If the Charlotte City Council totally repeals the ordinance and then we can confirm there is support to repeal among the majority of state lawmakers in the House and Senate, the governor will call a special session. It is the governor’s understanding that legislative leaders and the lieutenant governor agree with that assessment.”

Charlotte City Council rejected a proposal in May where the legislature said it would “amend” HB2 in return for Charlotte’s repeal of its non-discrimination law. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts issued a statement today (Monday morning, Sept. 19, that left no impression the Council would consider repealing its ordinance.

“The city of Charlotte continues its commitment to be a welcoming community that honors and respects all people,” read the statement from Roberts. “We appreciate the state wanting to find a solution to the challenges we are facing and applaud the governor for recognizing the state should overturn HB2, which the state can do at any time without any action from the city of Charlotte.

“We are not prepared to add this item to our agenda this evening, however, we urge the state to take action as soon as possible and encourage continued dialogue with the broader community,” Roberts’ statement continued.

The statewide LGBT group Equality North Carolina and the national Human Rights Campaign issued both statements Friday urging Charlotte to reject the proposal.

“It would require Charlotte to drop the very protections for the LGBTQ community that businesses, the NCAA and other organizations have now made clear are needed and are a priority,” said JoDee Winterhof, an HRC senior vice president.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal also issued statements opposing the idea.

“The reason the NBA, NCAA and countless other groups and companies have refused to do business in North Carolina is because H.B. 2 is an unprecedented and targeted attack on the LGBT community that is inconsistent with American values — not because Charlotte commendably decided to protect LGBT people from discrimination,” said Simone Bell, the southern regional director for Lambda Legal.

Meanwhile, the state is still wincing as major corporations and events continue to pull out of the state, citing their opposition to HB2. Just this month, both the NCAA and the ACC college athletic organizations announced they would not hold championship tournaments in North Carolina.

Those announcements set off a political earthquake in the state, which was already reeling from a wave of cancellations — from classic concerts to pop concerts, to travel by employees from New York and other states, to more than 60 major corporations filing statements in opposition to HB2 and, in many cases, putting a halt on their plans for conferences or to build in the state.

Wired magazine estimates the state has already lost almost $400 million because of the law. The NCAA and ACC decisions alone cost North Carolina more than $90 million, says Wired.

Not surprisingly, then, Gov. McCrory — who, according to most recent polls, is trailing Democrat Roy Cooper in that state’s gubernatorial contest — is racing to find a way to stop further damage.

Earlier in the month, he asked a federal district court judge to delay the trial challenging HB2 from November until May, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court might take up a similar case from Virginia. Lambda Legal’s national legal director, Jon Davidson, said his group agreed to the delay after the federal court granted a stay of the law as it applies to transgender people at the University of North Carolina.

On Friday, McCrory dropped one of his two counter lawsuits and issued the statement, hoping to persuade Charlotte to repeal its law so the state could declare HB2 no longer necessary.

The law, enacted last March, bars any local jurisdiction (not just Charlotte) from passing non-discrimination laws that exceed state law — and state law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. More notoriously, HB2 also bans transgender people from using any public restroom other than one assigned to a gender that matches their birth certificate.

Add to the economic and legal turmoil the fact that North Carolina is one of 12 states that pollsters say is uncertain in terms of the 2016 presidential election, and the implications of HB2 become even more dramatic.

Democrat Hillary Clinton has spoken out clearly against the law. Republican Donald Trump has sent mixed signals.

Speaking to a campaign audience in Greensboro, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 16, Clinton said, “I’m running for the LGBT teenager here in North Carolina who sees your governor sign a bill legalizing discrimination and suddenly feels like a second-class citizen.”

In her remarks, at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, she said she wanted to “make sure every person and, particularly, every child, no matter who they are, what they look like, or who they love, are part of the American dream now and way into the future. Let that be our message. Let that be our mission.” (

Trump initially said North Carolina would have “a lot of problems” for passing HB2 and suggested it was unnecessary.

“There has been so little trouble” regarding the use of bathrooms, he told the Today Show on April 21. But over time, he’s said the issue should be left to the individual states.

Asked about it in July, Trump told the News & Observer, “Well, I’m going with the state. The state knows what’s going on. They see what’s happening and, generally speaking, I’m with the state on things like this.

As of last Thursday, openly gay electoral data guru Nate Silver was predicting North Carolina to be leaning slightly toward Trump, 53 percent to 47 percent. Silver also dramatically downgraded Clinton’s chances of winning the White House — from 70 percent to 60 percent — following her previous weekend’s woes. On Sep. 9, Clinton described some of Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables,” a phrase that the Trump campaign meant Clinton thinks all Americans are deplorable. Two days later, Clinton collapsed outside a 9/11 memorial services and then took three days off to recover from pneumonia.

Analyzing many polls, Silver sees the state has being the fourth most likely to provide the “tipping” point in the Nov. 8 election (behind Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

© 2016 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

—  Tammye Nash

ACC follows NCAA’s lead, pulls championships games from North Carolina

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North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore claims that HB 2 was never about discrimination. Most people who are North Carolina Republicans are likely to call B.S. on that.

Just two days after the NCAA announced it is moving all its 2016-2017 championship events out of North Carolina, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced today, Wednesday, Sept. 14, that it is following suit.

The two college sports conferences made the move because of North Carolina’s state’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 — legislation hastily approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory last spring which negates all local LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws in the states and forbids transgender people to use appropriate public restroom facilities.

“The A.C.C. Council of Presidents made it clear that the core values of this league are of the utmost importance, and the opposition to any form of discrimination is paramount,” Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “Today’s decision is one of principle,” according to The New York Times.

Four of the ACC’s 15 members are in North Carolina, and the conference has its headquarters in Greensboro.

Clemson President James P. Clements told the NY Times that the decision to move the ACC championship games was not easy, but it “is consistent with the shared values of inclusion and nondiscrimination at all of our institutions.”

McCrory, who has adamantly defended HB 2 since he signed it and is now struggling to stay alive in his race for re-election against Democrat Roy Cooper, has not yet commented on the decisions by either conference. But Tim Moore, the speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, said the decisions were “very unfortunate.”

Moore said, “No one ever wants to lose events under any circumstances, but these organizations are certainly entitled to host their events wherever they choose. The truth remains that this law was never about and does not promote discrimination.”

Most folks disagree with Mr. Moore, to say the least.

—  Tammye Nash

NCAA pulls events from North Carolina; GOP spokeswoman issues rant

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NCAA President Mark Emmert

Texas lawmakers looking to jump on AG Ken Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s anti-transgender train need to take a good look at what happened yesterday in North Carolina, which became the poster-child-state for anti-LGBT hate earlier this year with passage of HB 2.

On Monday, Sept. 12, officials with the NCAA announced that seven NCAA championship games originally slated to be held in North Carolina are being moved out of The Hate State. That includes NCAA men’s basketball tournament games that would have been held in Greensboro, the 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, the 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships, a 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships regional, the 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, the 2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship and the 2017 Division II Baseball Championship.

In announcing the decision, NCAA officials said HB2 would preclude North Carolina cities from guaranteeing an “inclusive atmosphere” for all, according to The Charlotte Observer.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said, “Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships. We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships.”

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed HB 2 into law and has steadfastly defended it despite the ever-building negative impact it has had on his state, had issued no statement on the NCAA decision as of Tuesday morning.

But Roy Cooper, the Democrat running to replace McCrory as governor wasted no time in criticizing McCrory and the North Carolina GOP. His campaign spokesman, Ford Porter, told the Observer, “It seems that almost every day, we learn of a new consequence of HB2. Hosting NCAA championship events has long been a point of pride for North Carolina.”

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North Carolina’s state Republican Party, however, had no qualms in blasting the NCAA and once again defending HB 2. Spokeswoman Kami Mueller said: “This is so absurd it’s almost comical. I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams. Under the NCAA’s logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms. This decision is an assault to female athletes across the nation. If you are unwilling to have women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, how do you have a women’s team? I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor. Perhaps the NCAA should stop with their political peacocking — and instead focus their energies on making sure our nation’s collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field.”

Her response brought in swift and mostly disgusted reactions. Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, called Mueller’s statement “sickening,” and said the North Carolina GOP should “apologize immediately.”

Charlotte Magazine Columnist Greg LaCour decried Mueller’s statement as one of “such incandescent stupidity that it deserves to be examined closely, annotated, studied in the manner of a finely wrought gem or tractate of Talmud.”

He added, “From the mouths and keyboards of North Carolina Republicans in these last few years has emerged a flood of jaw-dropping lunacy. Yet this may be the defining document of their dominance of North Carolina politics since 2010. For brevity, alienation from reality, incoherence, long jumps of illogic, and one particularly bizarre (and offensive as hell) non sequitur, St. Kami’s Epistle to the Cackalackians is worth dissecting in full.”

Ron Clements on SportingNews.com said Mueller’s statement was itself “so absurd it’s almost comical,” and pointed out, as did LaCour, that Mueller issued the statement within hours of tweeting, “Monday nights are for @WoodfordReserve, work, and reading about our first liberty @ericmetaxas,” along with a photo of a glass full of bourbon on the rocks and a book by Eric Mataxas’ book If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty.

—  Tammye Nash

Judge: Mississippi can’t enforce anti-LGBT law as court battle continues

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Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant

A federal judge in Mississippi on Monday, Aug. 1, refused state officials’ request to be allowed to enforce Mississippi’s anti-LGBT HB 1523 as the state appeals his ruling against the constitutionality of the measure, according to BuzzFeed reports.

HB 1523, signed into law in April by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, provided protections for individuals, religious organizations and certain businesses who take actions due to their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” regarding same-sex marriage — or any sex outside straight marriage. It also provided similar protections for those who object to transgender people.

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves in June issued a permanent injunction barring Mississippi from denying same-sex marriage licenses, meaning no circuit clerk or staff member clerk can deny a gay couple a marriage license even if House Bill 1523 is in effect.

On Monday, Reeves refused to put his ruling on hold while the state appeals the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. He wrote, “[I]ssuing a marriage license to a gay couple is not like being forced into armed combat or to assist with an abortion. Matters of life and death are sui generis. If movants truly believe that providing services to LGBT citizens forces them to ‘tinker with the machinery of death,’ their animus exceeds anything seen in Romer, Windsor, or the marriage equality cases.

“The motions are denied,” Reeves added. “The baton is now passed.”

Meanwhile in North Carolina

Also on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in Winston-Salem, N.C., heard arguments on whether to suspend that state’s highly controversial HB2 — which prevents transgender people from using the appropriate public restrooms and which prohibits local governments from enacting LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws, among other things.

Schroeder, who is expected to rule soon, seemed a bit skeptical, pressing the state “to show how the law made anyone safer and whether it was necessary.”

In related new, the Raleigh-based News & Observer is reporting that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has allowed the state’s disaster relief fund to instead be used to pay outside legal counsel defending him and other state officials against the many lawsuits that have been filed challenging HB2.

—  Tammye Nash

HB2 strips veterans of nondiscrimination protection

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Gov. Pat McCrory

Almost all of the criticism of HB2, North Carolina’s discrimination law that was rushed through the legislature and signed into law in one day, focuses on its anti-LGBT intent. One provision of the law cancels all local nondiscrimination ordinances that cover anything other than federally protected categories.

The only North Carolina city that had passed an LGBT non-discrimination law was Charlotte.

Two North Carolina jurisdictions, however, have nondiscrimination ordinances — the city of Greensboro and Orange County, which includes Chapel Hill.

Those cities passed laws to prevent discrimination against veterans more than 25 years to protect vets returning from the unpopular War in Vietnam. Along with Charlotte’s ordinance protecting LGBTs, these ordinances were wiped off the books when Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB2 into law.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), a veteran who served in the Marine Corps, wrote to McCrory urging repeal of HB2 and pointing out the damage it could do to veterans.

“By signing HB2 into law you legalized discrimination against North Carolinians who put their lives on the line in service to our country,” he wrote.

—  David Taffet

DoJ sues North Carolina

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U.S. AG Loretta Lynch

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced this afternoon (Monday, May 9), that the U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of North Carolina, asking that the courts declare the state’s controversial House Bill 2 to illegally discriminatory.

Lynch’s announcement came just hours after McCrory announced that he had filed suit against the DoJ, asking the courts to keep HB2 in place as they determine the legality of the legislation. DoJ officials had given McCrory and other state officials until close of business today to announce a process for repealing the law, saying that it violates the federal Civil Rights Act by discriminating against LGBT — especial transgender — people.

HB2 rescinded a Charlotte, N.C., city ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination, pre-empts any such other local non-discrimination ordinances and prohibits transgender people from using the appropriate multi-stall public bathrooms.

While McCrory talks about HB2 being necessary to protect women and children from predatory men dressing in women’s clothing to gain access to public restrooms and locker rooms, opponents say such occurrences are so rare as to be imaginary and that McCrory’ justifications are  just a bunch of bullshit used to try and disguise what is, in actuality, just plain old homophobia/transphobia.

The Department of Justice has threatened to pull billions of dollars in federal funds from North Carolina unless legislators there rescind or repeal HB2. If the state were to come out the winner in the dueling lawsuits face-off, they might get their federal dollars. But HB2 has already cost billions in lost revenue from events scheduled there being canceled and businesses choosing to move out of the state, canceling expansion plans or choosing not to move there in the first place.

—  Tammye Nash

McCrory sues DoJ to keep N.C.’s bathroom bill

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North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory

As the deadline approaches for North Carolina to disclose its plan for coming into compliance with the Civil Rights Act — in other words, how the state plans to get rid of its odious bathroom bill — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has doubled down on discrimination by filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice.

McCrory wants the courts to clarify the federal law in regards to the Civil Rights Act, claiming that “The Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law and set restroom policies for public and private employers across the country, not just North Carolina. This is now a national issue that applies to every state and it needs to be resolved at the federal level.”

Continuing to show either his ignorance of transgender issues or his utter disdain and contempt for transgender people, McCrory added, “They are now telling every government agency and every company that employs more than 15 people that men should be allowed to use a women’s locker room, restroom or shower facility.”

The U.S. Justice Department sent McCrory’s office a letter Wednesday, May 4, explaining that the state’s bathroom law — which not prohibits transgender people from using the appropriate public restroom facility but also rescinded a nondiscrimination ordinance passed by the Charlotte city government and prohibits any other local governmental entity from passing such ordinances — violates the Civil rights Act. DoJ also warned that unless the state remedies the problem, North Carolina will lose millions — billions, even — in federal funding for things like education.

In his lawsuit, McCrory pointed out that he directed state agencies to provide single-occupancy restrooms. In announcing the lawsuit, the governor, a Republican, said he filed the action “to ensure that North Carolina continues to receive federal funding until the courts resolve this issue.”

Chris Sgro, a Democrat from Greensboro, told Fox8 news that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals “has already said federally that this case is not going to hold up in court,” which means that McCrory’s lawsuit will accomplish nothing other than “costing us $4½ billion in federal education money.”

“He’s already cost us $500 million in economic loss in the month alone,” Sgro added. “So the only answer here is repeal and that needs to happen sooner rather than later.”

Angela Mazaris, Wake Forest University’s LGBTQ Center director, accused McCrory of “playing political games” that will cost the state’s residents in the private sector and federal funds.

“If Gov. McCrory is concerned with public safety, he ought to educate himself about the needs and experiences of transgender North Carolinians, whose health and safety is threatened” by the state’s discriminatory bathroom law, Mazaris said. “The Department of Justice has clearly stated that transgender people have the right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, and our governor needs to do his job and protect the rights of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

—  Tammye Nash

North Carolina has until Monday to repeal or lose millions

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Gov. Pat McCrory

Department of Justice determines North Carolina’s HB2 violates the Civil Rights Act and Title IX. They want a determination by Monday, May 9.

HB2 is the law that requires transmen to use ladies rooms and transwomen to use a men’s room and stopped a Charlotte nondiscrimination law from going into effect.

Although the legislature passed the law in one day during a special session, the repeal legislation is going to drag through the current session. Leaders in the legislature said they will not meet the Justice Department’s Monday deadline.

In an interview with the Charlotte News & Observer, Gov. Pat McCrory said, “This is no longer just a North Carolina issue.”

He said every state is going to have to comply with a new definition of gender for locker room, shower and bathroom facilities. He called it Washington overreach and blamed Houston’s HERO law on creating the controversy.

The state is in danger of losing millions of federal dollars if it doesn’t repeal the law. Here’s the interview the Charlotte News & Observer did with McCrory:

—  David Taffet

NCAA: All championship game participants must be protected

Screen shot 2016-04-28 at 11.49.36 AMThe NCAA announced a new requirement for bidding on NCAA events, including men’s and women’s Final Fours and conferences: Cities bidding must “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.”

The new policy does not mention North Carolina where championship games are scheduled to run next year.

From the resolution:

Historically, the Association  has used the opportunity to host its events as a means to make clear its values. The Association now prohibits championships events with predetermined sites in states where governments display the Confederate battle flag, and prohibits NCAA members from hosting championships events if their school nicknames use Native American imagery that is considered abusive and offensive.

The NCAA statement said it considers protection of race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity vital to protecting students’ well-being.

The statement was released by the NCAA press office and accompanied by a video with Kansas State President Kirk Schultz making the announcement.

—  David Taffet

Today is Day of Silence

Day of SilenceDay of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools promoted by GLSEN — the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network.

According to GLSEN, students at the University of Virginia organized the first Day of Silence in 1996 in response to a class assignment on non-violent protests with over 150 students participating. In 1997, organizers took their effort national and nearly 100 colleges and universities participated. In 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event.

Probably the biggest question each year is: Do I have a right to participate in my school? Here’s GLSEN’s answer:

You DO have a right to participate in Day of Silence and other expressions of your opinion at a public school during non-instructional time: the breaks between classes, before and after the school day, lunchtime, and any other free times during your day. You do NOT have a right to remain silent during class time if a teacher asks you to speak. We recommend that you talk to your teachers ahead of time, tell them what you plan to do, and ask them if it would be okay for you to communicate on that day in writing.

Should be interesting to see how Day of Silence goes this year, especially in states like North Carolina and Mississippi that just passed laws designed to bully and harass the LGBT community.

—  David Taffet