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HB2 opponents link law to Orlando shootings

Posted June 14

— As dozens of Latino ministers from across North Carolina prayed with lawmakers in Raleigh on Tuesday and urged them to remain committed to House Bill 2, opponents of the controversial state law linked it to Sunday's mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.

House Bill 2, which the legislature passed in a one-day emergency session in March to head off a transgender nondiscrimination ordinance in Charlotte, requires that people use public bathrooms that correspond to their birth gender. The law also created a statewide nondiscrimination policy that doesn't cover gay and transgender people and prohibits cities and counties from extending such protections to them.

The law has sparked a nationwide debate over LGBT rights – the U.S. Department of Justice has sued the state, alleging the law violates the civil rights of transgender state workers and students – and bathroom safety.

Some lawmakers have recently discussed rolling back portions of the law, and the North Carolina Values Coalition organized the group of Latino faith leaders to urge lawmakers not to waver in their support of it.

LGBT advocates decried the timing of the effort, noting that it comes two days after 49 people were killed in a gay nightclub in Orlando in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

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"This is a tragedy that all Americans face, but it was a direct attack on the LGBT community," said Rep. Chris Sgro, D-Guilford. "The only way that we're going to stop more attacks like that is to stop having bad policy like HB2, stop having negligent rhetoric like we had around it and combat homophobia and trans-phobia in every walk of life."

"Have they no shame? Have they no empathy? It is unconscionable that, as the nation mourns the 49 victims of the horrific massacre in Orlando, anti-equality activists in North Carolina are urging lawmakers to support one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQ laws in the country," JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs for LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "Only a deep-seated hatred could drive a decision to attack a community while it is in mourning."

"The way the events played out, the horrific tragedy in Orlando sort of brought out to me the immediate need to repeal House Bill 2 because it's sort of a hate-filled, shameful piece of legislation that doesn't reflect North Carolina values," said Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford.

Sgro, the executive director of LGBT advocacy group Equality NC, said he was especially offended by the gathering because the majority of victims in the Orlando shooting were gay Latino men.

The ministers countered that there is no link between House Bill 2 and the Orlando shooting, which they said was a case of terrorism. The group even opened a news conference with a prayer for the Orlando victims.

"We're not here against the gay community. We're not discussing anything but safety in the bathrooms, that's it, in the locker rooms, the showers, everywhere that people go," said Rev. Maudia Melendez, executive director of Jesus Ministry Inc. in Charlotte.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest fired back at attempts to link the shootings to the North Carolina law.

"How can you blame them for a crazy person's murderous attack? It's shameful to do that," Forest said.

"HB2 has to do with common sense," said Rev. Dan Rodriguez, chaplain of Calvary Jail Ministries in Winston-Salem.

23 Comments

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  • Ken Ackerman Jun 15, 1:39 p.m.
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    View quoted thread


    I didn't say if I agreed with cities changing minimum wage or not.

  • Marilyn Loftin Jun 15, 12:16 p.m.
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    The more they try to link the shooting to HB2, the more people will be for HB2. Keep it up! You are showing your true rainbow colors.

  • Marty Martin Jun 15, 10:46 a.m.
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    So often homophobia is rooted in insecurity about one’s own sexuality -
    especially those adhering to religious doctrines that teach hate and lies about gays.
    We see it time and time again among gay-hating Republican leaders who are OUTED.

  • Marty Martin Jun 15, 10:44 a.m.
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    Seems LGBT-hating Republicans are more concerned about bathrooms than their OWN security -- although Transgenders have been peeing beside them and their children for....forever.
    But, like ISIS - conservatives continue bashing LGBT - and shrug their shoulders when their hateful rhetoric attracts a mentally ill gun nut.
    As a Christian I find it deplorable!

  • Marty Martin Jun 15, 10:44 a.m.
    user avatar

    Seems LGBT-hating Republicans are more concerned about bathrooms than their OWN security -- although Transgenders have been peeing beside them and their children for....forever.
    But, like ISIS - conservatives continue bashing LGBT - and shrug their shoulders when their hateful rhetoric attracts a mentally ill gun nut.
    As a Christian I find it deplorable!

  • Sheila Moore Jun 15, 10:41 a.m.
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    One crazy person gets weapons, walks into a bar, and shoots up the place. If the reports are true, and he had frequented the bar, and gay chat rooms, etc., it seems the problem is more his inability to cope with his homosexual feelings than ISIS or anything else.

  • Solomon Mcdonald Jun 15, 9:10 a.m.
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    Did the killings have anything to do with hatred of homosexuals? Many venues are reporting that the shooter was gay. It sounds like he was just a wing nut who wanted to kill a bunch of people for Allah and picked a place he was familiar with on a night it would be crowded. Sorry HB2 opponents, but I don't think you can make this one about your crusade.

  • Steven Brown Jun 15, 7:44 a.m.
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    Are you ok with cities setting minimum wage? Could you imagine how little towns like angier would fair if Raleigh had a $15 minimum? Many small businesses in those smaller towns could not afford to pay $15 to attract workers and would be driven out of business. The only way you could make it work would be to do it statewide but even then I don't agree with it. If many enlisted members of our military don't earn a true living wage, no way should some high school kid either.

  • Ken Ackerman Jun 15, 6:46 a.m.
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    HB2 and the killings in Orlando are only related in that both are result of fear and hatred of difference. HB2 is intended to raise everyone's hackles, Orlando was about one man's hatred.

    If HB2 is only about who gets to pee with who then the law should have stopped there. Instead it went further and sanctioned discrimination and forbade any city from raising the minimum wage. I would suggest that HB2 is really about the minimum wage and the rest of the content is a distraction. Was there a group or topic they could have selected that would have stirred more strife? If they eventually "roll back" some of the provisions, the one they really care about, minimum wage, remains untouched. Minimum wage flies beneath all the chaff of the HGBT provisions.

  • Edward Tilley Jun 14, 10:50 p.m.
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    This story was written to justify the earlier Facebook comments of their "star" Capitol reporter Laura Leslie. She as much as blamed HB2 supporters for this tragedy. WRAL should be ashamed, but I'm sure they aren't...

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