In order to stop a Charlotte City ordinance aimed at expanding protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity, North Carolina legislators assembled on Wednesday in a special session to pass HB2. The legislation was signed into law the same night by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to stop the Charlotte City ordinance scheduled to take effect on April 1.
McCrory heralded the legislation as a remedy to an “Ordinance [that] defied common sense, allowing men to use women’s bathroom.” In a tweet, McCrory also stated that the bill had bipartisan support.
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
Democratic Support For North Carolina Anti-LGBTQ Bill
Eleven North Carolina Democratic Representatives voted for what is considered to be a significant blow to the LGBTQ movement. Activists and legislators have been seeking basic protections on the state and local level across the country. More surprising than the bipartisan support for HB2 are its five supporters who have also endorsed Hillary Clinton.
In a press release obtained by North Carolin NBC affiliate, WECT, Representatives Charles Graham, George Graham, Howard Hunter, William Richardson and Garland Pierce are all listed as endorsers of Clinton.
It will be argued that Hillary Clinton can not be held responsible for the actions of her supporters or endorsers. Despite this argument, the North Carolina anti-LGBTQ vote by her endorsers adds an additional layer of nuance to the ongoing debate of the progressiveness of both Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party as a whole.
A prevailing argument during this primary season is that, above all else, left-leaning citizens should “Unite Blue” to oppose any Republican candidate. However, North Carolina’s HB2 makes a clear case for why supporting someone based on their party affiliation is not equivalent to supporting them based on their ideologies and political beliefs. What good is voting for a Democrat if they will vote with Republicans on issues as critical as fundamental human rights?
And while Hillary Clinton cannot be held accountable for the actions or votes of those who endorse her, it may be reasonable for her to reject these endorsements to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community and allies.
Rejecting political endorsements is not without precedent. Recently Donald Trump was forced to reckon with the endorsement of known Klansman David Duke.
The Additional Cost of Transgender Fear
Testimony during the special session included an impassioned speech by a young North Carolinian speaking of the fear of using the restroom with transgendered women. That fear mobilized legislators to call a special session and to pass legislation with far reaching ramifications.
Watch North Carolina Anti-LGBTQ HB2 Testimony
The new law is considered to be a direct affront to progress and one that “demonizes the community and espouses bogus claims about increasing the risk of sexual assaults.”
The law bans any local restrictions on discrimination in public places based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It also prevents local governments from requiring additional wages above the state minimum wage level.