After a year of national controversy, a legal battle with the Obama administration, and costly economic and political fallout, North Carolina lawmakers made key revisions to the state’s “bathroom bill” this week.
Over that time, the law caused a lot of trouble for the state as organizations and companies boycotted previously planned expansions and events. It may also have led to the defeat of Republican Governor Pat McCrory, who wound up taking the heat for a law that he wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about in the first place.
In any event, newly-elected Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper urged the GOP-controlled legislature to come together on a plan that would satisfy both parties and appease the NCAA, which was threatening to take more sporting events out of the state.
North Carolina lawmakers came to an agreement this week to repeal the part of the law that requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their birth gender. In the new law, public restroom policy will be entrusted to the legislature, but nothing will be set in stone.
Like most political compromises, this one left supporters on both sides unhappy with the end result. But LGBT groups and Democrats were much more sour than Republicans. They claim that the new bill is hardly a compromise at all and still deprives transgender people of their right to be free from discrimination.
Chris Sgro of Equality North Carolina told the Associated Press that the new bill was just as wrong as the original HB2.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, if you vote for this bill, you are not a friend of the LGBT community,” Sgro said. “You are not standing on the right side of the moral arc of history or with the civil rights community.”
This is basically an attempt on both sides to let this issue simmer down while everyone figures out where to go next. And really, when it comes down to it, the state has almost no choice in the matter. They can’t afford to watch businesses and sporting events flee North Carolina, and they can’t spend any more political capital on a small issue that has become monstrously divisive.
It’s a sign of how bizarre and troubled our times are that we are even watching lawmakers debate this issue, but it is what it is. Maybe in time, conservative, meaningful, sensible social values will return to our country, but we aren’t in that time right now.