Late last year North Carolina lawmakers were unable to come to an agreement after a nine-hour special session intended to repeal H.B. 2, the transphobic and disgustingly discriminatory “bathroom bill.” On Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper came to the table with a “common-sense compromise” that no one seems to be happy with.
As reported by the Charlotte Observer, the compromise offered by Cooper involves repealing the bill and creating “stricter penalties” for unspecified “bathroom crimes”as well as requiring local governments to notify lawmakers 30 days in advance before adopting any non-discrimination ordinances.
If you think that the proposed compromise is flaccid at best, you’d be absolutely right. Instead of repealing the bill outright, the proposed compromise is essentially saying the same thing that the bill was in the first place. In an attempt to placate Republican lawmakers who remain terrified of the imagined “threat” posed by letting people use whatever restroom they please, Cooper proposed adding “longer sentences for felonies such as indecent exposure, rape or peeping.”
Advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC came out against the compromise, using common sense to determine that what was proposed was still discrimination. “Today’s proposal was unnecessary. Charlotte and other cities have in the past carefully considered protecting LGBTQ citizens against discrimination,” Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro said in a statement on their website. “We all know that transgender people do not pose a public safety risk and should be protected from discrimination, not made the targets of it as HB2 does.”
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in North Carolina continue to bleat their feeble protests against the repeal in a truly bonkers fashion. From the Observer:
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican, said Cooper’s proposal “will create a state-sanctioned ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ policy in our bathrooms.”
“Heterosexual men will be able to access women’s showers and bathrooms by simply posing as a transgender individual,” he said. “They will be able to watch women and children shower, or shower next to them. As long as the man doesn’t touch them, assault them or film them, no legal protection would be afforded the offended woman or child. Nothing.”
The fear of a heterosexual man “posing as a transgender individual” in order to watch women and children shower next to them is completely unfounded, but like most things that are irrational and discriminatory, there’s never any solid evidence to back it up.
Like everything else, the timing of this compromise is important. As Fox 8 reports, North Carolina has lost an awful lot of money in the year since the bill was introduced. According to the Observer, the N.C.A.A is expected to make a decision in the coming days about venues for sporting events for the next six years. This year’s NBA All-Stars Weekend is in New Orleans, where it was relocated in light of HB2. The state has reportedly lost an estimated $630 million and could stand to lose much more.