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Conservative groups protest House Bill 2

The Log Cabin Republicans and the American Unity Fund, two conservative organizations that support LGBT equality, are encouraging North Carolina Republican voters to ask their government to repeal the law.

Gregory Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, said House Bill 2 goes against GOP values.

“The drive for some Republicans to drag the civil rights movement in this country literally into the gutter in order to make this discussion about public restroom facilities does a disservice, not only to the civil rights movement in this country, but to the Republican party and its priorities,” he said.

Their website operates under the tagline “Small town, not small minded” and says lawmakers in the N.C. General Assembly are violating a fundamental value: the Golden Rule.

Angelo said House Bill 2 unnecessarily intervenes in the lives of citizens, which is contrary to key GOP principles.

“It doesn’t get any more intrusive than legislating restroom usage, and how such a law would be enforced is something that goes even further in terms of an invasion into someone’s privacy,” Angelo said. “For a political party that espouses less government and less intervention in people’s private and personal lives, HB2 stands in opposition to both.”

Conservative groups have an important place in the LGBT movement, said Rebecca Kreitzer, an assistant professor of public policy at UNC.

“They’re able to craft messages that resonate more with conservative ideology, in particular with a focus on individual freedom, liberty and small government,” she said.

And according to Angelo, Republicans have always played a key role in fighting for marriage equality.

“These Republican voices in support of equality are not few, nor are they far between,” he said. “In fact, they’re growing.”

But Kreitzer said the party has struggled with the issue of gay rights and has sponsored an increasing number of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in states across the nation.

These laws claim to be protecting religious freedoms — but in practice, they are often discriminatory against the LGBT community, Kreitzer said. Laws like House Bill 2 often go against the GOP’s message.

“A lot of the policy that has been recently passed that is hostile to LGBT rights is contrary to conservative ideology insofar as it’s limiting local jurisdictions ability to be inclusive,” she said.

These discriminatory laws can lead to economic backlash, as seen in North Carolina, where companies such as PayPal have pulled out of expanding operations in the state.

“There was, to my knowledge, no public outcry for legislating what amounts to restroom police in the state of North Carolina,” Angelo said. “There was not a public outcry to overturn municipal non-discrimination ordinances.”

Angelo said he is baffled by the N.C. General Assembly’s decision to pass House Bill 2.

“Repeal this unnecessary law that flies in the face of conservative principles and has the potential to have national ramifications as we head toward Election Day in November,” he said.

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