As Sen. Bernie Sanders eloquently put it in a recent interview with The Young Turks, “Republicans understand their agenda succeeds when nobody knows what their agenda is.”
This is exactly the philosophy North Carolina lawmakers tapped into while cunningly passing a terrible piece of legislation on Wednesday that severely gutted LGBTQ rights in the state.
ThinkProgress reports that within a span of a day, “[North Carolina’s] legislature convened a special session, a complicated multi-part bill was introduced, it passed through the House and Senate — both Republican controlled — and Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed it into law.”
Without public knowledge of the bill or the chance for constituents fight against it, it passed easily, which is exactly what the Republican leadership wanted. The bill essentially prevents any local nondiscrimination ordinances from passing, which means cities cannot legally provide protection for LGBT individuals.
It also, “bans transgender people from using restrooms that match their gender unless they’ve managed to change their birth certificate…prevents civil suits from being filed in state court even when discrimination is documented…[and] prohibits cities from mandating any employment compensation (minimum wage, benefits, etc.) beyond what is offered at the state level.”
These are all huge blows to the LGBT movement and particularly disturbing because they encourage discrimination, with no legal consequences for offenders or freedom for cities to fight with nondiscrimination laws. North Carolina, though a Southern state, does contain liberal cities such as Durham and Chapel Hill.
Gov. McCrory, however, saw this as a huge win. He sent out tweets lauding lawmakers for “[stopping] the breach of basic privacy and etiquette.”
I signed bipartisan legislation to stop the breach of basic privacy and etiquette, ensure privacy in bathrooms and locker rooms.— Pat McCrory (@PatMcCroryNC) March 24, 2016
Ordinance defied common sense, allowing men to use women’s bathroom/locker room for instance. That’s why I signed bipartisan bill to stop it— Pat McCrory (@PatMcCroryNC) March 24, 2016
The hashtag #WeAreNotThis emerged on Twitter, as thousands of people protested the banning of restrooms to transgender individuals.
For what it's worth, our bathrooms are for everyone all the time. #WeAreNotThis— Mystery Brewing Co. (@mysterybrewing) March 24, 2016
Today I change my party affiliation. Being fiscally conservative no longer outweighs the social wrongs of the GOP. #WeAreNotThis— Beth Anne Ballance (@baballance) March 24, 2016
They are not "men using women's bathrooms". They are women using the bathroom. #WeAreNotThis— Zander Patton (@Zander_Patton) March 24, 2016
This form of public deception in order to pass Republican bills may unfortunately be picked up by other states, as the public had a scant 30 minutes to comment on North Carolina’s law before it went to a vote. In other states such as Georgia, anti-LGBT legislation has received huge backlash, with companies such as Marvel and Disney threatening to end filming in the state if the legislation passes. After witnessing North Carolina’s success, other states bent on passing bills to promote discrimination may follow suit.
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