By Pete Kaliner
The poo squall is now approaching Category 5 in North Carolina over the legislature’s adoption of a so-called “bathroom bill.” House Bill 2 — or H.B. 2, for short — is dubbed “anti-LGBT” by critics and “common sense” by supporters.
Both camps have some valid concerns.
loss of protected class status
Democrats (at least the ones who did not vote for the law in the N.C. House), leftists, and LGBT activists say the law eliminates protected classes of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from municipal and county Non-Discrimination Ordinances (NDOs).
This is true.
But the legislature says those local jurisdictions were never empowered under the state constitution to provide those protections in the first place.
Had the Charlotte City Council not adopted its radical local ordinance, it’s unlikely the legislature would have gotten involved at all, however.
So, in defining a statewide Non-Discrimination law, the legislature would have to decide whether to add these two protected classes into the language.
This was controversial even for the Charlotte City Council — which voted it down originally. (In that first vote, Democrats on the council were fine with the inclusion of “sexual orientation,” but not “gender identity.”)
What proponents of the Charlotte law are demanding is that the legislature include both of these protected classes in the statewide law — thus, dictating the laws for the vast majority of North Carolina cities, towns, and counties that did not write their own NDOs. Or whose NDOs did not include the gay and trans protected class status.
So, in reality, this argument is not about a local ordinance or local control. It’s about pressuring the state to adopt a statewide NDO that mirrors Charlotte’s. Something that Charlotte was only barely able to adopt (after an earlier failure) last month.
loss of safe spaces
What made the Charlotte ordinance so radical was that it removed the exemption for private businesses to determine their own bathroom policies. Places like the YMCA and fitness centers would be prohibited from offering sex-segregated showers, for example.
The Charlotte city attorney promised that this was not the intention of the law, and that it would not be enforced.
Laws should not be adopted if their is no intention to enforce them.
Further, just because THIS council and city attorney chooses not to enforce the law doesn’t mean future council and attorneys would not.
This is why it’s called a “bathroom bill.”
And despite the media-enabled leftist framing of the issue, the concern among people defending H.B. 2 is not that transgenders are now going to start attacking women in the restrooms. The concern is that predators will use the cover of newly opened facilities as a means to enter a traditionally safe space for women and children.
Critics of H.B. 2 say there are already laws against assault and so these fears are unfounded. However, this argument only applies after the attack. A woman or child would have to be victimized for this law to be relevant. Absent an attack, the predator is free to move about inside the restrooms and showers of any public facility or private business.
And not just predators.
Perverts will have a whole new arena in which to operate, as well.
This also seems like an unrealistic and unimaginable concern for critics of H.B. 2 to grasp.
Perhaps if they imagine the stereotypical man in a trench coat exposing himself to women and kids in a park, this will make more sense.
As a former reporter, I covered numerous stories of men doing things like this. One popular tactic seemed to be driving around town without pants on and asking teenage girls for directions.
These men will now have access to all sorts of facilities.
This is what prompted the legislature to act.
Pete Kaliner is host of The Pete Kaliner Show, which airs on WWNC 570 AM in the Asheville area. This post originally ran on wwnc.com and is republished here by permission.