Editorial: House Bill 2 is about discrimination, not merely bathrooms

Posted July 15, 2016

On Feb. 1, 1960, four black students sat at the all-white lunch counter at Woolworth's Department Store in Greensboro and asked for a cup of coffee. The answer was no, but the action helped catapult the Civil Rights Movement across the South. Eight artists honored their act of bravery with sculptures of coffee cups throughout downtown Greensboro, which were unveiled Wednesday.

-- Calling HB2 a “bathroom bill” misses the most important point.
-- Under North Carolina law in HB2, businesses can refuse to serve transgender people.
-- North Carolina’s reputation around the nation is soiled.
-- Should laws be passed just to stoke fear and division to drive some voters to the polls?

* * *

A CBC editorial: Friday, July 15, 2016; Editorial# 8029
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 is more than who should, or shouldn’t be in a particular public restroom.

House Bill 2 does one very simple and dangerous thing. It legalizes, under North Carolina law, discrimination against certain people because they may be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Remember the famous 1960 Greensboro Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in. Think those days are over?

Think again. Under North Carolina law, it is ok for a restaurant to put a sign above the lunch counter that says “We Don’t Serve Gays.” Under state law, it is just fine for an employer to fire workers, for no other reason than they are gay or transsexual.

That is wrong. It is hurtful. It is mean.

Those behind HB2 can dress this despicable law up anyway they want. Efforts to say that the law is about safety is a disguise more suited for Halloween.

So, why the desperation? Why the need to justify a bad law? Across the nation at least 250 cities and counties, including Cleveland where the Republican Party will be holding its national convention next week, have ordinances similar to the one Charlotte attempted to adopt.  None have seen any turmoil as a result.

It is a brazen and transparent effort to manufacture an emotional divide, to stoke fears and prejudice to drive one group of voters to the polls and keep others away. It is a tried-and-true technique that has roots with the imposition of Jim Crow laws in North Carolina and across the South more than a century ago.

The impact of this discriminatory law continues to reverberate around the state and nation. Recently, 68 of the nation’s largest companies, some homegrown, others with operations in the state or with jobs and facilities North Carolina would like to lure, filed an amicus brief supporting the federal government’s efforts to have HB2 declared unconstitutional.

Other than the cynical effort to pander for votes, do Gov. Pat McCrory, Sen. Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore and the others who back this legislation, really believe that it is ok to discriminate against other people; to be able to refuse to serve them at the lunch counter; to force them out of their jobs; to deny them the most basic of human rights – just on the basis of being gay or transsexual? Do they really think this bigotry is justified?

Well, it isn’t. We are better than this.

It would be empty optimism to think that any of these folks might come to their senses, apologize and fix this as soon as possible. The best hope is for the courts to act as quickly as possible and declare HB2 unconstitutional.


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  • Sean Creasy Jul 15, 2016
    user avatar

    So here's a question: if HB2 is discriminatory, which, I can see where it can be in certain instances, then how do we pass a bill that's not discriminatory yet keeps women and children protected from sick individuals who would exploit being able to use the women's bathroom under the guise that they "felt" like they should be there instead of the men's room? I feel that the intent of what HB2 was supposed to do was common sense legislation that got perverted by overzealous politicians who went way beyond just saying "no you can't use the opposite bathroom because you "feel" like it. Also keep in mind how all of this got started: a convicted sex offender approached the Charlotte City Counsel with the original idea that people should be able to use either bathroom based on how they feel... Food for thought...

  • Marc Nichols Jul 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    look back at how WRAL actually reported the story when it was fresh - they never presented it as anything other than a "Bathroom Bill" they even had a unisex bathroom sign as there background image. This editorial barely makes up for the lousy job they did explaining the various parts of the bill - removaing local legislations rights to decide their own issues, removing private citizens rights to sue in NC courts for some issues, denying extending protections to LGBT - The bathroom aspect was how the republican administration and legislature sold a bill they knew was much much more. They repeatedly use misdirection and fear to cover their tracks - and it works on fearful and prejudices citizens like Fowler, Loftin and Turner. Conservatives should also be angered at how their voices are muted by this law, but that flew under the radar because media like WRAL bought into the sales pitch and failed viewers

  • Arron Lee Jul 15, 2016
    user avatar

    My family has been watching WRAL for so many years. It seems that they are turning more from "reporting" the news to promoting agendas. What is CBC (WRAL) afraid of? In there attempt to support one side of things, they are alienating the other side. Why can't they just give us the news stories and let us express our opinions about them. It is as if they are afraid someone is going to sue them.

  • Matt Nickeson Jul 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I can't believe that they are running these pieces from their parent company! It's like they have utterly given up on even the appearance of impartiality.

  • Teddy Fowler Jul 15, 2016
    user avatar

    WRAL is losing me with these awful CBC Opinions...

  • Scooter Barrette Jul 15, 2016
    user avatar

    Filming, touching, or staring at anyone in a public bathroom is already illegal, regardless of the individual or gender. It's about time we all learn to use the same bathroom. We're better than this.

  • Judy Loftin Jul 15, 2016
    user avatar

    I will never stop.

  • Judy Loftin Jul 15, 2016
    user avatar

    No it's not all about bathrooms, its also about shower stalls, locker rooms, and sleeping with our children on field trips. Also, CBS is reporting on the transgender filming women in the dressing room at target. Why aren't you!

  • Steven Cousler Jul 15, 2016
    user avatar

    I have scrubbed all plans to attend any concerts until HB2 is rescinded/repealed. It is just too expensive to book tickets and plan to attend only to have the artist bail at the last moment due to HB2. Now HB2 is impacting major sporting events too and business expansion. When will they learn? You don't thrive and grow by sticking your head in the sand and wishing the world was your way. You adapt and grow by adjusting to different people and accepting them. The NC state Republicans are in for a resounding thump come election day, I guess they need that to wake up, a shame.

  • Paul Gallant Jul 15, 2016
    user avatar

    It's pretty simple. They lost on gay marriage so this is their next attempt to spread fear against the LGBT community. My question is who are they going to go after next when they lose this one? Because they are going to lose this one.