The New York Times editorial board torched North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and the Republican-led legislature for passing an “appalling, unconstitutional” measure rolling back LGBT nondiscrimination protections, condemning the lawmakers for making North Carolina a “pioneer in bigotry.”
On March 23, following a special session convened by North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a bill “that blocks local governments in the state from enacting ordinances to allow transgender people to use public bathrooms that match their gender identities.” The measure was introduced in response to a recently passed provision in Charlotte expanding nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.
The bill's supporters peddled the spurious argument that the ordinance's nondiscrimination protections for transgender people "[allow] men to use women's bathroom/locker room[s]." This myth was buoyed by Charlotte, NC, television news stations, despite the fact that the talking point has been debunked by law enforcement experts, government officials, and women's safety advocates in cities and states across the country.
On March 25, The New York Times editorial board excoriated the North Carolina legislature for “spuriously portraying transgender women as potential rapists” to ram through an “appalling, unconstitutional bill.” The board slammed the “bathroom predator” myth as a “threat [that] exists only in the imagination of bigots,” noting (accurately) that “supporters of the measures have been unable to point to a single case that justifies the need to legislate where people should be allowed to use the toilet.” The board further wrote that by “promoting the ludicrous idea that transgender women are inherently dangerous, the law endangers citizens who are already disproportionately vulnerable to violence and stigmatization.” The board ultimately condemned Gov. McCrory for making the “state a pioneer in bigotry” and accordingly urged voters to “reject” his reelection bid:
Officials in Charlotte, N.C., spent more than a year carefully considering and debating an antidiscrimination ordinance that was passed in February to promote the city's culture of inclusiveness. State lawmakers quashed it on Wednesday by passing an appalling, unconstitutional bill that bars transgender people from using public restrooms that match their gender identity and prohibits cities from passing antidiscrimination ordinances that protect gay and transgender people.
Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the bill into law late Wednesday, said it was necessary to undo Charlotte's ordinance, which included protections for gay and transgender people, because it allowed “men to use women's bathroom/locker room.” Proponents of so-called bathroom bills, which have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, have peddled them by spuriously portraying transgender women as potential rapists.
That threat exists only in the imagination of bigots. Supporters of the measures have been unable to point to a single case that justifies the need to legislate where people should be allowed to use the toilet. North Carolina is the first state to pass such a provision.
Under the law, people in North Carolina are required to use public restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate. Transgender people in the state can request to have their birth certificate changed only if they have had gender reassignment surgery. Many transgender people cannot afford surgery or choose not to have it.
By promoting the ludicrous idea that transgender women are inherently dangerous, the law endangers citizens who are already disproportionately vulnerable to violence and stigmatization. Transgender men go largely unmentioned in bathroom bill debates, but that could change. James Parker Sheffield, a transgender man with a beard, exposed the foolishness of the law in a tweet to the governor. “It's now the law for me to share a restroom with your wife,” he wrote, attaching a photo of himself.
Mr. McCrory, who is running for re-election, may have assumed the bill would help him in a tight race against Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat who called the measure shameful. “Not only does this hurt North Carolina families, but it hurts our economy as well,” Mr. Cooper said in a video message. Voters should reject the candidate who made the state a pioneer in bigotry.