North Carolina is not better off with its repeal of HB2, the law that allowed businesses to discriminate against its LGBT citizens.
The deal that paved the way for repeal of HB2 included Charlotte repealing its city nondiscrimination ordinance. So a law allowing discrimination will be repealed, but only after a law preventing discrimination was rescinded. Without a law protecting citizens, discrimination that HB2 allowed is just as legal in the state without any protections.
While HB2 specifically enumerated ways to discriminate and the Charlotte ordinance enumerated who could not be discriminated against, LGBT Charlotte residents now have no recourse when they suspect discrimination. And the rest of North Carolina’s residents are just as unprotected.
What good does a nondiscrimination ordinance do? Here in Dallas, since our nondiscrimination ordinance was passed, there have been very few complaints under the law. And only two major cases have been settled as a result of an investigation into the charges.
In one, the Dallas Morning News was “forced” to accept more than $1,000 every time a same-sex couple wants to place a marriage notice in the paper. Dallas Voice is on record that we want to be forced to accept advertising money as well.
In the other case, Baylor Hospital’s Landry gym was found to be discriminating by not accepting family memberships from same-sex couples. To settle the case, the fitness center did away with all family memberships, because it’s better to punish all your customers than allow one same-sex couple to use your facility. But good for them for standing up for their Christian principles of discrimination in a city that doesn’t tolerate hate (and where most Christian churches don’t either).
But if there’ve been so few discrimination cases in Dallas, what good is the ordinance? It says who we already are — as opposed to, say Irving. It says what we believe. It welcomes businesses to our city, because nondiscrimination is already a core value for most businesses in the U.S.
So now, that type of discrimination is still legal in North Carolina, even in Charlotte. The people of Charlotte don’t want to put up with that sort of petty hatred in their city, but their state legislature says they must. Charlotte should have stood by its ordinance, because the state is no better off without HB2 than it was with it. On this one, Gov. Pat McCrory gets one final win before he’s tossed out of office in two weeks.