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Proposed HB2 'loyalty pledge' falls flat

Posted April 20

— A coalition of religious groups that pressed the General Assembly to pass House Bill 2 last month quickly scrapped a plan Wednesday to have state lawmakers sign a pledge to support it.

The legislation requires people to use the public bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate, excludes gay and transgender people from discrimination protections and bar cities and counties from extended such protections to them. It also prohibits cities from setting their own minimum wage and eliminates the right of workers to sue in state court for job discrimination.

House Bill 2 has come under increase attack by corporate executives, celebrities and others, who have called on lawmakers to repeal it, which prompted the Keep NC Safe coalition to begin circulating a pledge Tuesday night to shore up legislative support for the measure.

The pledge called for signers to oppose any legislation that "would allow men to use women's bathrooms" or "would force private persons and businesses to participate in events, engage in speech or promote ideas that violate their sincerely held beliefs." The pledge also called on lawmakers to oppose efforts to repeal any provision in House Bill 2 or to add the terms "sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression" to any state statute or policy.

Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake, said the pledge erases any doubts that House Bill 2 is discriminatory legislation.

"It says it right here and makes it very clear they want to be able to put signs up on businesses that say 'No Gays Allowed,'" Jackson said. "I imagine these are the same type of things they had legislators in the '50s and '60s trying to get them to sign, saying they wouldn’t support (civil) rights. It’s no different. It’s just 50 years later."

John Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, sent the pledge to all members of the House and the Senate. By mid-afternoon Wednesday, he had emailed lawmakers, saying the pledge was circulated "inadvertently" and should be ignored.

"We had considered providing a means, prior to the convening of the 2016 Legislative Session, by which we could continue to encourage North Carolina lawmakers to stay strong in your leadership defending the privacy and safety of all North Carolinians, and clarifying that there is no patchwork of confusing local laws in the state that are harmful to commerce, labor, and trade," Rustin said in the email. "However, we decided not to move forward with this pledge and respectfully ask that you disregard yesterday’s e-mail."

He declined further comment about the pledge.

Jackson said he plans to file legislation to repeal House Bill 2 next week when the General Assembly reconvenes. The state's growing business losses clearly show it's necessary, he said.

"I think North Carolinians expect legislators to be pledging to attract jobs to North Carolina, not to drive them away, to attract talent to North Carolina, not to drive it away, to be against discrimination and not for it," he said.

He also credited Gov. Pat McCrory for extending discrimination protections to gay and transgender state workers through an executive order last week.

16 Comments

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  • Sam Nada Apr 21, 2016
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    Precisely. Cooper did the same thing re: the same-sex marriage amendment, and he was 100% correct. He'll make a fine governor.

  • Tripp Weiland Apr 21, 2016
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    forgot the link, sorry

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/court-overturns-virginia-schools-transgender-bathroom-rule-38513822

  • Tripp Weiland Apr 21, 2016
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    It is clear Cooper believes HB-2 is inconsistent with the US Constitution and it would seem the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals agrees with him.

  • Tripp Weiland Apr 21, 2016
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    So I highlighted the part you missed that says the AG shall not defend state laws that are against the US Constitution.

  • Tripp Weiland Apr 21, 2016
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    Nice try Matt. You should read the entire statute and you will see why the section you chose to quote is preempted earlier in the document.

    § 11-7. Oath or affirmation to support Constitutions; all officers to take.
    Every member of the General Assembly and every person elected or appointed to hold any
    office of trust or profit in the State shall, before taking office or entering upon the execution of
    the office, take and subscribe to the following oath:
    "I, ___________, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will support the Constitution of the
    United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; and that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, to the best of my knowledge and ability

  • Matt Nickeson Apr 21, 2016
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    NC Oath for Attorney General, State District Attorneys and County Attorneys NC General Statutes Chapter 11, Article 2, Section 11-11

    "I, A. B., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will well and truly serve the State of
    North Carolina in the office of Attorney General (district attorney for the State or
    attorney for the State in the county of ______); I will, in the execution of my office,
    endeavor to have the criminal laws fairly and impartially administered, so far as in me
    lies, according to the best of my knowledge and ability; so help me, God."

    Our system was purposely designed so that no person could wield unilateral power. Just because you agree with his rational doesn't mean that you should agree with his methods. There is a system in place to deal with laws believed to be unjust. The precedent set can easily be turned to work against you later.

  • Sam Nada Apr 21, 2016
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    Cooper took an oath to uphold the US Constitution, which supersedes any State law. As the Virginia court ruling indicates the HB2 will very likely be ruled unconstitutional. Cooper is doing is sworn job, as he should. It's a shame the GOP in the NCGA and the Governor aren't doing theirs.

  • Bobby Lee Jimmy Billy Apr 21, 2016
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    NCGA solving problems that don't exist. Voter ID comes to mind also.

  • Marty Martin Apr 21, 2016
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    Trans have used public restrooms for decades based on gender identity.....

  • Marty Martin Apr 21, 2016
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    Trans have used public restrooms for decades based on gender identity.....

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