On March 30, House Bill 2 was officially repealed with the passage of a compromise bill, House Bill 142. A compromise should be bittersweet. This one is sour.
HB142 places a more than three-year moratorium on local anti-discrimination laws and local employment ordinances, while leaving bathroom use regulations murky. The bill sparked immediate, vigorous condemnation from the Human Rights Campaign among other gay rights groups.
Their message — we can’t sit still until the end of 2020 while equal rights for LGBTQ North Carolinians are denied — is clear and just. It’s just not realistic in our current political environment. We can change that environment by using persuasion as well as passion.
North Carolina’s constitutional make-up makes it clear that the legal path forward for groups hoping to fully repeal HB2 runs through the democratic process and the N.C. General Assembly.
As it stands now, N.C.’s GOP, with its peculiar brand of power-centralizing conservatism, has exactly that: centralized control of the state’s democratic power. State Republicans’ ability to pass HB2 and exact their pound of flesh with HB142 has shown their political strength. Until those who support LGBTQ rights persuade enough others to be able to gain similar statehouse power, we can only expect similar results.