Will McCrory abandon North Carolina restroom bill?

by Evan Wilt
Posted 4/06/16, 04:13 pm

North Carolina is facing sustained political and economic pressure to undo HB2—a law created to protect privacy in public restrooms and locker rooms.

In the weeks since he signed the bill into law, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has endured a cacophony of criticism: Other governors banned travel to his state, businesses relocated jobs, and activist groups filed suit. In choosing to stand by HB2, McCrory could face a tumultuous road to reelection in November. But by sticking to his guns, the governor could set a new precedent for elected leaders to adhere to conservative values despite outside pressure.

“We’re hired to do a job; we are hired to govern and to protect everyone,” said U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C. “You have to look at potential outcomes, and you can’t give over-extended protections to some and at the same time potentially harm other people.”

Lawmakers passed HB2 in response to a city of Charlotte ordinance that made sexuality and gender preference protected classes under its civil rights laws. But the ordinance could have forced businesses in the city to allow men into women’s restrooms, accommodating for their “gender identity” and not what is on their birth certificate.

North Carolina conservatives moved swiftly to overrule the Charlotte ordinance and put a stop to other local legislators in the state passing similar laws. Pittenger told me HB2 is not about disenfranchising anyone, it’s about protecting innocent North Carolinians from a breech in privacy they did not ask for.

“What’s going to happen if some emotionally unstable person enters a bathroom under the guise of being transgender and actually displays himself to children or to women?” he asked. “People are free to live their lives out the way that they want to, but they just can’t do it in a way that is offensive to other people.”

McCrory has had to repeatedly defend HB2 since he signed it into law March 23.

“I’ve witnessed the people of North Carolina put aside their disagreements and come together to accommodate and work out solutions, while still respecting each other’s beliefs and values,” McCrory said in a statement. “I’ve also witnessed politicians who have exploited differences and divided our people. Instead of living up to the North Carolina tradition of respecting those with whom they disagree, they’ve demonized our state for political gain.”

McCrory’s remarks are aimed, in part, at North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who vowed not to defend the state in a lawsuit filed by gay-rights activists.

Cooper, the Democratic challenger for the governor’s mansion this fall, is using the law to bolster his own campaign, claiming McCrory’s move to “discriminate” will hurt North Carolina citizens and businesses.

Two weeks ago, PayPal announced plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte, creating 400 new jobs. But because of HB2, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said he is scraping the expansion.

“Legislation has been abruptly enacted by the state of North Carolina that invalidates protections of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens,” Schulman said. “The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”

More than 120 business executives at large companies like Facebook, Starbucks, and IBM signed an open letter calling for McCrory to repeal the law. And PayPal is not the only company to abandon North Carolina.

Fox46 Charlotte reported entertainment company Lionsgate was planning to shoot a new comedy series in the state. The project included hotel and equipment rentals and jobs for more than 100 North Carolinians during production. But because of HB2, Lionsgate decided to move filming to Canada.

“The threat that HB2 poses to jobs and our economy is no longer a possibility. It’s a reality,” Cooper said. “These are new, better-paying jobs North Carolina won’t get because Gov. McCrory has put his political ideology above all else.”

The tension surrounding North Carolina is not an isolated incident. Other state officials have suffered national smear campaigns for standing by their moral convictions.

Last year, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, sparked a national outcry for signing a religious freedom law to help protect businesses owners from participating in activities contrary to their sincerely held beliefs. He soon caved under the pressure. Pence demanded lawmakers present him with a new bill to ensure the state’s law would not discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Pittenger is hopeful McCrory will stand his ground on HB2 and won’t fold under pressure from the LGBT community.

“I think this fight has broad consequences in setting precedence,” Pittenger said. “We’ll just have to see how the governor responds. I hope he will look at the long term and look at policies that help and protect everyone, not just a select few.”

Evan Wilt

Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.

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  • JennLynne's picture
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    @Nateowami   Thanks for the direct link to Gov McCrory's office and also the recommendation to check out http://www.2ndvote.com/. They list a possible alternative to PayPal.

  •  Varenikje's picture
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    @Steve SoCal  Are you saying because eBay also discriminates?  Or eBay uses Paypal as one of their ways of paying?

  • Kenneth L Tacoma
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    I think that orthodox Christians need to have a mechanism to know what businesses are involved in pushing the gay/transgender agenda so that we can make conscientious choices on where to do business - not to get into a "boycott war" with those who favor these policies, but to be good stewards of our resources so we are not actively promoting anti-Christian immorality by our economic activities. For example, by complete accident my wife and I discovered that Wells Fargo is active in the attack on North Carolina, so we are moving our (modest) investment account elsewhere. But there needs to be an information source so Christians can make choices that are congruent with our Christian service.

    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    @Nateowami, thanks for the links. I live in NC and have used the McCrory link to send him an e-mail thanking him.

  • HistoryTeacher
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    I have never been one to write letters or emails to people involved in these issues, but this one alarmed me more than any other social issue going on in the US right now. After reading that the NBA is threatening to not hold the 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte until the governor gives in, I wrote an email to the NBA. I will no longer visit their site, which I have done almost daily for years. We, the people, need to stand up to these companies and tell them if they are going to boycott a common sense law like this that only protects people, then we will boycott THEM. No more Starbucks for me either. And I will definitely email a letter of encouragement to the governor of North Carolina.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    @Indiana Taylor:  your post is a head-scratcher to me.  Can you please clarify what you meant by saying that the pharmacist was being "too familiar," and what it was that so offended the pharmacist about what you said that he threatened to ban you from the store?

  • MamaC
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    Indiana Taylor, pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is the "socialist definition" of the phrase: "have a good one"? Regardless of the bent of any particular locale, I would assume the person using it meant, "Have a good day!"

  •  Paul B. Taylor's picture
    Paul B. Taylor
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    The political parties, both right and left, are losing their identity in view of current legislation.  The new politics are rapidly becoming socialism verses Christianity.  As an example, I recently picked up medication from a local drug store.  As I was leaving the pharmacy, I was told to "have a good one."  Knowing the socialist bent in this city, I had to respond that he was using a socialist definition for the phrase.  In other words, he was too familiar because of the current sexual revolution which seems to be occurring all over America.  After my response, I was warned that I might not be allowed to return to that pharmacy.  We have to wake up to the seriousness of the current political reality before it's too late.  I remember when Dostoyevsky became aware of the political reality which was approaching a socialist revolution.  He discussed his views with other intellectuals, and they dismissed him as being merely "reactionary."

  • Auslander
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    @Laura W: That is an excellent point.  They can't take on everyone.@Steve SoCal: I think that generally, business perusal is an issue of conscience.  I have a Macbook, and obviously Apple is not supportive of Christian causes.  Definitely a grey area.  However, in this case, I think PayPal went way beyond simple advocacy.  They are officially, deliberately and willfully misrepresenting the nature of this law.  They said that their stand on the issue is "clear and unambiguous."  Okay, then my stand will be just as "clear and unambiguous": I have likewise cancelled my account and will find some other way to push money around.

  • Laura W
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    You know, this works both ways. As more and more companies support things like letting people enter the public restroom of their choice, it becomes harder to find any to buy from that don't. But if more state leaders found their backbones, it would become harder and harder for companies to boycott all of them.

  •  John Cogan's picture
    John Cogan
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    Most of us do not see the larger picture. Satan is taking down the boundaries, borders and taboos that make our culture civilized. He uses lies, deception and mischaracterization and until we fight back with truth, we will lose. The truth in this case is we ARE discriminating. We are discriminating against men in women's bathrooms. That is a good form of discrimination. We miss the subtle point that, whereas discrimination based on skin color is ridiculous, discrimination based on sin is not. It is not wrong to discriminate in matrimony against two men or one man and two women or against those who would expose our children to sinfulness in order to normalize sin and make it acceptable. (See La Shawn Barber's April 6th column.) This fight will not be won by caving because Satan has a step by step agenda. He won on same sex marriage last summer. Once he wins on the end to sex segregation in bathrooms, he will move on to convince us that incest is good, orgies are good, child sacrifice - not only before birth but after - is good, pedophilia is good and killing the old and unproductive members of society is good. Wake up Christians, pray and be heard.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    I believe that we need to take the long view on these matters.  Although Gov. McCrory could stand up to the pressure, he might not.  In my opinion, we Christians should not condemn him if he folds.  At least there are people who are trying to address the issue.@Nateowami:  great recommendation.  I have done as you suggested.

  • Steve SoCal
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    I closed my Paypal account.  As a Christian, after seeing their announcement https://www.paypal.com/stories/us/paypal-withdraws-plan-for-charlotte-expansion , they left me no other choice.  I can't financially support Paypal by using their services, which also means no more Ebay for me.

  • TexasCrane
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.John 15:18-20 (NIV)