As most everyone knows, the North Carolina General Assembly pushed through sweeping new anti-discrimination legislation (the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, aka NC House Bill 2) last Wednesday. Many North Carolinians, myself included, were distinctly unhappy with the law because we felt it encouraged discrimination against our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters who are LGBT+. Fortunately for us, both Governor Pat McCrory and Lt. Governor Dan Forest released statements that the law is not discriminatory. It is, in fact, anti-discriminatory.
You see, beloved, we had it all wrong, This law isn’t about discrimination; it’s about safety and privacy. Of course, those things weren’t really at risk as a result of Charlotte’s ordinance because the idea that predators might use it to sneak into women’s bathrooms is bullshit. But, you can’t let facts get in the way of some Grade A fear-mongering.
On Friday, Governor McCrory’s office issued “Myths vs Facts: What New York Times, Huffington Post and other media outlets aren’t saying about common-sense privacy law“, a press release that points out what they feel are certain…, “misconceptions” concerning House Bill 2. It is composed of a series of questions and answers that, in their opinion, aren’t being adequately (or factually) addressed by the media. Isn’t that nice of them?
Unfortunately, the release either glosses over or totally ignores certain key points; most notably, the fact that people who are LGBT are specifically omitted from protections (the text lists “race, religion, color, national origin, age, biological sex or handicap” as protected groups with “biological” underlined). Yeah, that’s not discriminatory at all.
And, if that wasn’t enough, Lt. Gov. Forest did an interview with the Hollywood Reporter to answer some of the accusations coming from the film making community about House Bill 2. Forest reiterates the fantasy that laws like the one in Charlotte would allow sexual predators to enter women’s restrooms to hunt for fresh victims despite the fact that narrative has been conclusively debunked numerous times. Forest’s arrogance and condescension is on full display and can be summed up with this comment: “I don’t think critics have even read the bill.” No, Dan, we read it and that’s why we’re pissed.
Since all this started, both the governor’s office and the General Assembly have taken great pains to assure us that they don’t see people who are LGBT+ as predators. Evidently, the NC GOP didn’t get that particular memo, because they shared a Breitbart article on their Facebook page that contradicts what that message.
According to the article, when Chad Severance (president of the Charlotte Business Guild) was 20 years old, he was convicted on one count of sexual molestation of a minor. Now, we’re talking about an admittedly disgusting act by one person, that did not involve little girls and bathrooms and, that occurred over 16 years ago (Severance has kept his nose clean ever since). For Republicans, none of that matters; as far as they’re concerned, this one incident is evidence of the abject perversity of all LGBTQ folks.
You may notice that, even though this is supposed to be a religious blog, the last two posts haven’t mentioned anything about God, Jesus or religion. That’s because, in what may be the closest thing to a bright spot in this fucked up mess, the people behind House Bill 2 haven’t mentioned any of those things in connection with this bill; which is good, seeing as how there’s nothing of God or Jesus in it (religion, unfortunately, is a different story). Thank God for small favors, I guess. I’m getting a little tired of people using Christianity as a cover for the bigotry.
While we’re being thankful, let’s all rejoice that Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia has vetoed his state’s proposed religious freedom bill. Granted, his reasons are shitty (Georgia law offers no protections for people who are LGBTQ, so “persecution” of Christians is unlikely and renders the law unnecessary), but a win is a win. I never thought I’d see the day when Georgia took a more progressive position on something than North Carolina. Thanks a lot, GOP.