Friday, April 1, 2016

North Carolina Suffers Backlash from Anti-L.G.B.T. Bill

Last week, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, (who is a Republican), signed a bill that eliminated protections for gay and transgender people, essentially opening the doors to discrimination in the state.

North Carolina is not alone. After last year's Obergefell v. Hodges case resulted in a victory for gay rights supporters all over the country, state legislatures began introducing bills to limit the Supreme Court ruling.

Courtesy of the New York Times
Prostesters against HB2 in Charlotte, N.C. 

This specific law, dubbed "the bathroom bill," specifically blocks transgender people from using public bathrooms of the gender they identify with. Moreover, it prevents cities from creating laws that would protect L.G.B.T. individuals.

The law created a massive backlash not only from the general public, but from politicians, celebrities, and other influential individuals. Twitter users used the hashtag #WeAreNotThis to express their disapproval. A statement by the NBA suggested it was reconsidering the location for the 2017 All-Star Game, currently planned to be held in Charlotte, if the act was not repealed. States such as New York and Connecticut have banned official state government travel to North Carolina. A letter signed by CEOs of large companies such as Apple and PayPal stated that, "We believe that HB 2 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the country. It will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity."

Is this backlash enough to repeal the bill? Why did McCrory and the N.C. government choose to create laws like these in the first place?

Questions: A lot of articles mentioned McCrory is up for reelection--how might that have influenced his decision? This situation also brings up the issue of federalism--should North Carolina and other state governments have the power to enact these types of laws?



Monica Mai said...

This kind of reminded me of the voting tests that African-Americans had to take after the Civil War until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (I am not 100% confident on this, but I believe that is what happened) and just the general disenfranchisement after the Reconstruction Era. But, to answer your questions, I think that a lot of McCrory's supporters were also supporters of limiting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Thus, if he was intending to win the reelection, he would've done something that the majority favored. I think it seems that the public supported this bill. I don't think North Carolina and other state governments should have the power to enact these types of laws. Just like how the US passed acts to monitor the voting process, the US should pass acts that would monitor these types of bills that encourage discrimination for the LGBT community. I'm happy to see such a backlash thought and surely, anything helps; however, I am not sure if it will be enough. Because McCrory's reelection depends on the public, the public must be swayed enough by the backlash to stop supporting the bill.

Abhishek Paramasivan said...

To answer your question, yes I think that the fact that he is up for reelection did have some impact on the timing but it is only partly responsible for this bill. As previously stated, state legislatures have been trying to limit LGBT rights for quite a while. I think this anti-LGBT sentiment has been in North Carolina for a while but the legislature has just now begun to take action because of the re-election period. This event also created more of a national uproar than actions in other states probably because of its severity. I don't believe there is anything in the current federal law to prohibit state governments from doing something like this, as which bathroom transgender people can use is not covered by any of the laws. I don't think that the current federal government has any power to directly block these actions but the government can publicly criticize and potentially cut some benefits that North Carolina receives as a state since that does not go against any currently established state protections.

Jared Mayerson said...

I really hope that governor Pat McCrory gets voted out of office. If the residents of North Carolina really feel that "#WeAreNotThis," then they should take necessary action to make sure that people who were responsible for this are voted out of office and that something like this never happens again. Discrimination in any form in not acceptable. The members of the North Carolinian government are supposed to be representing the beliefs of North Carolinians, not their own personal biases. The law itself just doesn't make any sense as it now forces people of opposite sex/gender to use the same public bathroom. Because of this, public restrooms may no longer be a safe place for people in the LGBT community, which is an even larger problem. Monica is right that there are connections between this and Civil Rights. I thought we were past this, America.