Catholic bishop says HB2 needs to be rewritten

Posted May 6, 2016

— Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh said Friday that a new state law that limits discrimination protections for gay and transgender people concerns him.

Burbidge hadn't spoken publicly previously on House Bill 2, although he issued a statement in February calling for state lawmakers to overturn a Charlotte ordinance allowing transgender people to use public bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The resulting House Bill 2 did that, but it also prohibits protections against discrimination for the LGBT community, prevents cities from setting their own minimum wage and eliminated the ability for workers to sue in state courts for job discrimination.

The bishop, whose diocese covers the eastern half of North Carolina, said he supports parts of the law but said the General Assembly needs to rework it.

"It's not meant to be bigoted," he said. "It's mean to create an environment the community thinks is appropriate, but obviously, there is some misconception and there's some misunderstanding and at least should be talked about.

"It is difficult, but I hope lawmakers will talk to each other and listen," he continued. "They can come up with something better, I think."

Several other faith leaders in North Carolina have called for a repeal of House Bill 2, including Jewish rabbis and bishops from the Episcopal and Methodist churches. Many evangelical ministers support the law.

Meanwhile, Gov. Pat McCrory has until Monday evening to respond to a U.S. Department of Justice demand that the state come into compliance with federal civil rights laws.

The Justice Department on Wednesday said the bathroom provision of House Bill 2 violates the civil rights of state workers and students. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Friday that they were trying to determine if the law violates their nondiscrimination provisions.

The government's stance puts billions of dollars in federal aid to North Carolina in jeopardy.

McCrory could tell federal officials that he won't enforce the law, giving lawmakers time to reconsider it, although legislative leaders continue to stand behind it. Or the governor could say the state disagrees with the finding of discrimination, which would propel the case to court.

If the dispute goes to court, the Justice Department could seek an injunction to suspend the law until the case is over, which could take years.

Several law professors said Friday that the governor cannot completely fix the problem on his own – and state lawmakers don't seem to want to negotiate with the government.


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  • Mike Smith May 8, 2016
    user avatar

    Recently Pope Francis affirmed that discrimination against homosexuals is wrong. this even though he also affirmed that homosexual behavior is wrong. Since there is nothing morally wrong with changing one's gender, how can Christians justify discrimination against transgenders?

  • Mark Cahall May 7, 2016
    user avatar

    Where does it stop? Never? How many discrimination categories are special interest groups going to demand be defined by law?

    Favorite ice cream flavor discrimination?
    Cat person verses dog person?
    Favorite color?

    How about job skills? Someone can claim employment discrimination based on the employer refusing to hire them for not possessing a certain category of job skills?

    I can hear it know:
    "The company diacriminated against me because they would only hire truck drivers and I'm a boat captain".

  • Xander Bogaerts May 7, 2016
    user avatar

    HB2 needs to be repealed entirely.
    It cannot be modified as it is forever negatively tainted.
    The entire bill/law has its roots in discrimination.

    Get rid of it. Repeal HB2 fully.

    Then if a bathroom bathroom/law is still needed, get the public's input, and create a new, separate bill and debate it openly, not behind closed doors.

  • Mark Cahall May 7, 2016
    user avatar

    One method of propaganda is called
    "psychological conditioning".

    One example is continually repeating a lie
    until it's accepted as a truth.

    This article engages in this method by
    utilizing the tactic called "a lie by omission".

    It fails to state the whole truth bu omitting that straight people, along with LGB&T people
    also do not have protections against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    The authors of the article are being intellectually dishonest by insinuating that only LGB&T are afffected. And they know it.

  • Newt Rogers May 7, 2016
    user avatar

    I find it rather funny that the Catholic church feels the needs to comment on HB2. Among all the churches, the Catholic church is the BIGGEST bunch of hypocrites. They have been discriminating against LGBT for YEARS!!
    You can't have it both ways Mr. Burbidge!

  • Mark Cahall May 7, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Remember men are not women.

  • Xander Bogaerts May 6, 2016
    user avatar

    "Burbidge hadn't spoken publicly previously on House Bill 2, although he issued a statement in February calling for state lawmakers to overturn a Charlotte ordinance allowing transgender people to use public bathrooms that align with their gender identity."

    The Catholic Bishop wrote a statement calling for lawmakers to overturn a Charlotte ordinance... I'm just going to let that sink in...

  • Ron Coleman May 6, 2016
    user avatar

    Remember separation of church and state.