By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
February 3, 2017
RALEIGH – Three Democratic Senators introduced a measure for a full repeal of HB 2 on Wednesday. Senators Jeff Jackson (D-Wake), Angela Bryant (D-Halifax), and Floyd McKissick, Jr (D-Durham) filed SB 25–Repeal HB 2. The three Democrats argue that repeal is necessary to get the state back on track.
HB 2 was passed in March of last year after the city of Charlotte passed an egregious ordinance requiring private businesses, public buildings, schools and even churches allow men and women to use the locker room, shower, or restroom with whichever gender they subjectively identified. HB 2 overturned Charlotte’s ordinance, mandating that public schools and government buildings maintain separate men’s and women’s facilities and that the fundamental privacy rights of private businesses and religious groups be restored.
According to ABC 11 News, former Representative and current director of Equality NC (the state’s premiere Gay rights organization) and supporter of SB 25, Chris Sgro, said, “Our economy is not going to recover until we’re able to repeal House Bill 2. Sen. Jackson told WRAL News that repealing the measure would be the biggest economic development of the year.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said, “Unfortunately, Democrats continue using the same worn-out arguments that HB 2 has been bad for our state’s economy. They continue to beat this drum. The press keeps erroneously hammering away at this theme. But astute citizens aren’t buying this mess of pottage, which is nothing more than intentional exaggeration aimed to deceive. North Carolina’s bottom line is doing just fine. In fact, it’s very good,” he said. “Furthermore, whatever might be perceived as a gain for repealing HB 2, whether it’s getting the NCAA championship game to come back or a Bruce Springsteen concert, what our state would have to give up pales in comparison to what we would lose by repealing HB 2. The safety of our women and children and the preservation of our religious liberties shouldn’t be for sale. And that’s exactly what SB 25 would do.”
Proponents of SOGI ordinances, like the one Charlotte passed which precipitated the need for HB 2 and overturned it, are always claiming such ordinances are good for business. But research provided by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) shows just the opposite.
“Numerous studies suggest states without these classifications to their laws have greater economic growth, while many states that have added these classifications have weaker economies and lower job growth,” argues ADF.
Any repeal effort of HB 2 at this point seems unlikely.
Senator Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) recently told Time Warner Cable News, “I’m concerned about some of the proposals that have been out there about a full repeal of HB 2 and not taking into consideration the consequences of what that repeal might be in terms of what other local governments might do.”
Berger is referring, in part, to what resulted in a failed attempt to repeal HB 2 in December of last year. At the behest of Governor McCrory, leadership in the North Carolina General Assembly worked out a deal with the Charlotte City Council to completely repeal the city’s radical ordinance and stand down on the issue moving forward. In return, the state’s leadership promised to pass a measure for full repeal. The deal was based on the concept of a “reset” that would put everything back to the status quo.
Charlotte did repeal their ordinance, but the agreement started to fall apart when Charlotte Observer reporter Nick Ochsner broke the news that the city had not repealed their ordinance in its entirety. Instead, they had repealed only a small section and attempted to hide this from lawmakers until after the repeal of HB 2.
Furthermore, on the night before the repeal vote, Chris Sgro, was promising in an interview on MSNBC that Charlotte would simply put its ordinance back in place after the repeal of HB 2, and other cities would join by adopting similar ordinances of their own.
By the time lawmakers were ready to vote on a full repeal measure, many of the Republicans who had been willing to vote for repeal before were now backing away.
Although lawmakers from both chambers came back for a special session to vote on repeal, House members never took up a bill. The Senate, however, did put forward repeal legislation but included in the measure a moratorium on any further ordinances like Charlotte’s for a period of six months. Berger often referred to this as a “cooling off period.”
The condition of a moratorium, said Berger, would provide the necessary time for both sides to work together to find a compromise. Plus it would assure Republicans that they were operating with folks from the other side in good faith.
But Democrats wouldn’t accept anything except a full and unconditional repeal.
SB 25 essentially calls for the same.
Governor Roy Cooper continues to insist there are currently enough votes to repeal HB 2.
“Not so,” says Dr. Creech, “Cooper’s assertions are just political posturing.”
In a statement released by Shelly Carver, spokesperson for Sen. Berger, Carver says:
“Sen. Berger has told Gov. Cooper that it will take compromise to move past the distraction of HB 2 and that he should explain his position on whether women and young girls should be forced to share bathrooms and school locker rooms with men. We have not seen the media explain where he stands on allowing men into women’s locker rooms, and we will reserve further comment on HB 2 until we see his position reported.”
Dr. Creech says he appreciates the leadership’s openness to listening to the concerns of those who call for repeal, but he adds supporters of repeal will never be satisfied until an ordinance like the one overturned in Charlotte is adopted by every city in our state.
“I can’t see the need for compromise here,” said Dr. Creech, “HB 2 is the compromise if you think about it.”