The Charlotte Observer editorial board blasted the so-called “compromise” proposed by North Carolina Republicans, which would repeal the state’s discriminatory House Bill 2 (HB 2) in return for the city of Charlotte dropping its LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. The board slammed the supposed “reset” as a “dismissive” and “condescending” proposal that is a “bad deal” for both the city of Charlotte and LGBT people.
On September 16, the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) issued a statement indicating that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory had assured NCRLA that if the Charlotte City Council were to repeal the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, the general assembly would call a special session to repeal HB 2 -- which, among other measures, requires transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate. McCrory’s proposal comes in the wake of the NBA, NCAA, and ACC pulling championship games out of the state in response to the anti-LGBT bathroom bill. Experts have estimated that the economic cost from the loss of sports-related business alone could range from $100 million to $200 million.
On September 18, the Charlotte Observer editorial board slammed McCrory’s proposed “compromise” as a “bad deal for the city, and more importantly, for members of the LGBT community.” The board criticized the “dismissive tone” Republicans took, noting that they overlooked the “at least 200 U.S. cities and counties” that preceded Charlotte in adopting similar ordinances. They also called out the “false notion” that HB 2 “provides for safer bathrooms.” Asking if the possibility of getting back the NCAA and ACC tournaments would be worth “selling out the LGBT community,” the board wrote, “We believe the answer is no.”
From the September 18 edition of the Charlotte Observer:
Gov. Pat McCrory and some N.C. lawmakers are encouraging the Charlotte City Council to make a compromise that might result in the repeal of HB2. It’s a bad deal for the city, and more importantly, for members of the LGBT community who would lose their best chance at protections from discrimination. Council members should not turn their backs on those residents now.
As with a similar compromise offer back in May, council members are being asked to trust the legislature to follow through on its end of the deal. Here’s a hint about how that might go: In a condescending statement Saturday, House Speaker Tim Moore said that if Charlotte “fully and unconditionally” repealed its ordinance, “then I believe we have something to discuss.”
It’s a dismissive tone that overlooks an important bit of history:
In passing its non-discrimination ordinance in February, Charlotte followed the lead of at least 200 U.S. cities and counties. Charlotte’s ordinance, which included a provision addressing gender identity and bathrooms in public accommodations, was not groundbreaking. It’s what progressive cities do to protect their residents.
What would Charlotte get from the “reset”? It might get the ACC Football Championship game back, for starters. The NBA also might bring its All-Star weekend back to the city in 2019 if HB2 were out of the way. Both possibilities, however, are far from certain.
But Charlotte also would be left without an ordinance that council members believed was important for the safety and dignity of the LGBT community. That ordinance was more than symbolic. It was designed to protect residents from very real discrimination.
Let’s be clear: House and Senate leaders have given zero indication they want Charlotte to have those LGBT protections, now or at any point. It’s worth noting that in his Saturday statement, House Speaker Moore again celebrated the false notion that HB2 provides for safer bathrooms and showers.
Yes, a “reset” has an appealing ring to it. But it would be a step backward, both symbolically and practically. Would Charlotte be any closer to the protections it wants to offer? No. Would it get a football and basketball event back? Maybe.
Are those events worth selling out the LGBT community?
We believe the answer is no.