It may not be big news outside of North Carolina, but we're having a bit of an imbroglio here over two groups of politicians who couldn't craft a decently written law if their lives depended on it. Allow me to fill you in. It's worth your time, because it's politics at it's most hilarious. It's also an edifying case of the shoe being on the other foot for a change.
The city of Charlotte, NC passed a local ordinance that aimed to protect the civil rights of gay, lesbian and transgender individuals. Among the numerous clauses in the ordinance was the now infamous "bathroom clause", which would require all public accommodations to allow people to use the restroom appropriate to the sex they identified with, regardless of the sex they had been born with.
In Charlotte, a large, but very vocal, minority of people disagreed with this particular portion of the bill. A similar bill had been defeated a few weeks earlier, but a new, heavily Democratic, city council with several new, all Democratic, members, many of whom had campaigned with this as an issue, passed the bill over the objections of this minority. Obviously the timing of this was not coincidental.
Now, in North Carolina there is a clause in our state constitution that allows the state legislature to override local government laws. It's there when the need arises to reign in a government body that has strayed off the reservation, or when, for example in the case of firearms laws, the state legislature believes there is a good reason to enforce a level playing field state-wide. The existence of this clause is soon to be important.
Charlotte, also know as Moscow on the Catawba, is like most metropolitan areas, very liberal. Oddly enough, a sizable portion of Charlotte's representation in the legislature is Republican, and from appearances, rather conservative Republicans at that. Overall, the NC Legislature as well as the Governor's Office are controlled by Republicans. This too will soon be important.
The observant among you have probably already added 2 + 2 + 2 and come up with "train wreck". But let's unveil the picture in all it's gory detail.
Shortly after the new ordinance was passed, at the behest of a Charlotte legislator, a special session of the legislature was called and in roughly 12 hours, in the process of trying to undo the Charlotte ordinance's bathroom clause, they also managed to revise the North Carolina statute dealing with discrimination in such a way as to override all local laws that granted any special protections to gay, lesbian and transgender individuals, as well as mandating that you must use the restroom appropriate to the sex you were born with in state facilities. The governor almost broke the nib off his pen signing it.
The blow back was immediate and predictable. Civil rights groups, LGBT groups, Democrat groups, pretty much the entire panoply left of center have lost their mind. There have been demonstrations, civil disobedience and all sorts of media friendly goings-on. Many rich, famous, powerful, wannabe rich/famous/powerful, thinks they are rich/famous/powerful and simple loudmouths with no dog in this hunt have weighed in on how evil North Carolina is.
Personally, I think they're wrong. We simply have the best politicians that can be bought on a low budget. It is, after all, a part-time legislature. You an only expect a certain level of professionalism from part-timers.
Various companies have threatened, and in the cases of PayPal, Lionsgate and a couple of others, actually pulled business from North Carolina. This is actually kind of foolish, because now they have no leverage to get the legislature to change anything. You don't pay taxes here and your employees don't vote here. You're not coming here, so why to we care what you think?
Personally, I have no dog in this hunt. To my knowledge, no one in my family or circle of friends fits in any of the categories that have been legislated about. However, I'm not stupid--"When they came for the trade unionists" and all that. I think that these folks are just as human as anyone else and therefore have exactly the same rights as the rest of us. The fact that we have to actually pass a law to get people to understand that fact points out that we as a society have a long way yet to go.
However (You knew that was coming, didn't you?)...
I also note that the folks in those particular classes tend to be pretty liberal in their politics and tend to vote overwhelming Democratic. Most of them do not support my Second Amendment rights in the least. These are the people who lobby for yet another anti-gun law and say things like "It's a good first step." or "If it saves one life." or the ever popular "It's for the children!" It doesn't make a damn to them that all the evidence is to the contrary, we need to pass one more law than we already have on the books. And the next time we'll need to pass one more. And the next, and the next, and the next....
This time, the shoe is on the other foot. All the stuff that has been uttered about the safety of our women and children in the bathrooms if that evil Charlotte ordinance is allowed to stand? Well, there are laws like Charlotte's all over the place, and damn few cases of anyone using them to sneak into the ladies room dressed as a woman to perv and rape. Sort of like how the blood stubbornly refused to flow every time another state got concealed carry, and how it still stubbornly refuses to flow when a state goes Constitutional carry. Damn those inconvenient facts, huh? We need to pass this law!
Yeah, it really sucks when someone decides to go all self-righteous all over your civil rights, doesn't it? It hurts like hell when you watch all that progress you've made over the years get torn up by a bunch of elected morons who have no idea what it's like to be you and live your life. You get really angry when you see the things you hold dear trampled underfoot.
Sort of like us gun folk have felt for the last 40 or 50 years. Now oddly enough, I hope that your message gets through and the legislature gets off its duff and fixes the mess it's made. No one should be a second class citizen because of who they love or which bathroom they need to use.
And I hope that the next time someone asks you to help them take the rights of someone else, you remember just how much it hurt when it was your rights that were taken away.