House Bill 2 spells trouble for all, not just the LGBTQ+ community

Anyone who doesn’t live under a rock, not only in the state of North Carolina but elsewhere in the United States, has certainly heard the news that the Old North State has taken a step back toward the Stone Age.

The boneheaded move I am referring to is Gov. Pat McCrory’s signing of House Bill 2, also called the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, which the House voted in favor 84 to 25, and the Senate 32 to 0.

This bill pisses all over the recently passed Charlotte City Council Ordinance 7056. This ordinance amended the Charlotte City Code to include language that would make discrimination based on marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression unlawful.

This kind of forward thinking is something that Gov. McCrory should consider if he prefers not to become the most hated man in North Carolina. Most people will focus on the stereotype that he’s a Republican and say that’s becoming of their type. I think it’s because he’s got a brain stuck in the era of Mad Men, and imagines himself as some sort of womanizing Don Draper.

Gov. McCrory actually vetoed a similar bill, Senate Bill 2, last May. This veto was later overridden. Senate Bill 2 allows magistrates, assistant registers of deeds, and deputy registers of deeds to refrain from granting marriage licenses due to “sincerely held religious objection.”

The reasoning he gave for vetoing this bill was because he said that no public official who takes an oath to uphold the Constitution should not be exempt from it. It seems like McCrory used to be an ardent protector of citizens’ rights. Now he certainly seems to have changed his tune.

This sort of thing sets a dangerous precedent that the state can utilize in future cases involving LGBTQ+ rights; wait, let me correct myself — human rights. There doesn’t need to be a label placed on something so basic as the right to choose how you express your identity. The only possible course of action is for HB2 to be repealed, thereby setting the correct precedent.

House Bill 2 amends parts of North Carolina state law, allowing for discrimination against those who identify as a gender not based on their biological sex. This is because the authors of the bill cleverly modified phrasing by adding the word biological in front of all instances of the word sex.

Not only does language in HB2 make Swiss cheese out of City Ordinance 7056, it may be illegal per federal writ as well. A little law that was enacted in 1972 by the name of Title IX, “prohibits, with certain exceptions, any entity that receives ‘federal financial assistance’ from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sex in education programs or activities.”

According to lines two through five of HB2, it would “provide for single-sex multiple occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities in schools and public agencies.”

This is where the clever language comes into play. Because of the insertion of biological into the bill, the schools and any government-run facility would not have to respect a person who identifies as a gender that doesn’t align with their biological sex.

Because institutions of public education receive federal funding, either indirectly or directly, violating Title IX would mean students would lose the privilege of receiving financial aid. Luckily for us, UNC Asheville is on the right side of the fence here, so I need not worry about affording a quality education.

Further, if UNCA took away the gender-neutral bathrooms, or refused transgender individuals the choice of using the restroom of their choosing, we might not receive the $21.1 million from the Connect NC bond to renovate Owen and Carmichael Halls.

And I know how much the psychology department, not to mention the rest of the student body, would hate that.

John Mallow

John Mallow is a senior mass communication student at UNCA and Assistant Social Media Editor of The Blue Banner. He enjoys running, mountain biking, ska music, pizza and beer. He also wrote this bio himself, in the third person. Twitter: @jmallowjr Instagram: @johnmallow0602

One thought on “House Bill 2 spells trouble for all, not just the LGBTQ+ community

  • March 30, 2016 at 12:44 am
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    This is coming to a head with or without North Carolina. The ACLU has tossed it’s dice forcing a decision regarding Title XI and the word “sex”. “Sex” appears by legislative intent to mean the common meaning while the Obama administration’s Department of Education, backed by the Department of Justice has been expanded to include is now “gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity” and then a whole lot more.

    The danger with this is that something so important that is defined by policy rather than law is that it can be swept away with a change of administration. We’ve heard a lot of Republican squawking and carrying on about Obama’s use of executive actions with regard to Iran and Cuba. Basically leaving Congress out altogether.

    Gavin Grimm vs. Gloucester County Public Schools (GCPS) has been pending decision at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (federal) which North Carolina is part of. If the ACLU gets a will in Grimm then we may see a wave across the nation, though a slow one considering the Supreme Court and the want of other circuits to conflict. The DoE simply has been able to force settlements on schools over the bathroom issue. The Virgina case is bigger than N.C. I think because it’s already been in front of the same COA.

    It seems that for the Circuit, it’s going to be all or nothing. Quite a dice throw by a very confident ACLU.

    Raleigh says all they did was set things back to the way they were. That’s not true. Boards of Education have come up with their own accommodations and that should have been left alone. Charlotte being one of over 500 cities in the state may not have been the best for such sweeping changes (forcing businesses to adopt new policies). We don’t want a zig-zag when it comes to defining protections and civil rights. But we are light years away from having this decided on the state level which is where it needs to be.

    Just not today.

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