Sunday, April 09, 2017

17.5 - Good News/Not Good News: Virginia repeals part of HB2

Good News/Not Good News: Virginia repeals part of HB2

Related to that, we also have a sort of Good News/Not Good News bit.

North Carolina has repealed parts of HB2, the state's notorious "bathroom bill." Specifically, it repealed the part that required transgender people use public restrooms, showers, and locker rooms that match the gender on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity. The repeal shows that public pressure and economic boycotts can in fact be tools for change and comes against the background of a recent poll commissioned by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute which showed 53% of Americans opposing laws like HB2.

That's the Good News part. The Not Good News part is that the bill, which Gov. Roy Cooper has signed, maintains the prohibition on local anti-discrimination measures. That is, cities and towns in the state cannot enact local legislation to protect transgender and other LGBTQ folks in their jurisdictions from the discrimination they now face in areas like employment, housing, and health care. One small gain is that the ban is now temporary, supposedly expiring in 2020; another is that local governments can set LGBTQ protections for their own employees and contractors, even though they can't set them for the public at large.

Still, when we recall that this started because Charlotte passed an ordinance to protect the rights of transgender people and that the state responded with HB2, getting the bathroom part out while leaving the ban on local legislation intact amounts to a case of two steps back and one step forward.

A bit of connected disappointing news is that the NCAA, which had threatened to bar North Carolina from hosting championship events if HB2 was not overturned by the end of March, has "reluctantly" agreed to consider bids from the state because the new law "meets the minimal NCAA requirements."

The NCAA had been calling for a complete repeal and I regret that it didn't stand firm on that.

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