The legislature of North Carolina recently passed a “common sense” measure to deny transgender people admittance to restroom facilities of the gender with which they identify. A “common sense” measure, for those of you who don’t know, is what a politician says when they don’t really have an argument for the legislation they’re trying to pass.
The legislation in question is in retaliation to a measure passed in Charlotte designed to prevent discrimination against gay and transgender people, and the NC state legislature went so far as to make sure no one in NC passed laws protecting transgender rights, and while the Republicans have tricked many into thinking the bill says nothing more than that a man cannot go into the women’s restroom, it goes beyond that. Craig Jarvis and Colin Campbell of the News & Observer:
A provision in the North Carolina legislature’s bill that would keep local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances has raised an unexpected concern – that it would eliminate a legal recourse for private sector employees who claim their firing was discriminatory.
North Carolina law allows employees to be fired for any reason, so long as the reason is not against the law or public policy. That isn’t part of a statute but has been part of common law for nearly four decades.
One sentence in the bill passed Wednesday says that no one could file a civil action based on the public policy outlined in the legislation.
So the bill isn’t just anti-gay or anti-transgender, it has the potential to be anti-worker, too. Triple score!
This isn’t the first ridiculous measure Governor Pat McCrory and his Tea Party goons have passed. Amendment One, which was drafted and then voted on by the public read as follows:
Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.
Gay marriage was already not permitted in North Carolina, so all this did was to add prohibition of gay marriage to the state constitution. It also had the potential to invalidate civil unions, depending upon how the amendment was interpreted by the courts, so even straight couples—in addition to gay couples—could have lost hospital visitation rights or health insurance from their partner’s job, among other things.
The NC government has also tried to curb voting rights. A round of redistricting largely benefited Republicans in the 2012 election, where 51% of votes went to Democrats yet 9 of the 13 open seats went to Republicans. An attempt to curb college-age voters who generally lean liberal, Senate Bill 667 removed a tax exemption for parents whose children they claimed as dependents voted in a different district, meaning that college students voting in the town of their university rather than their parents’ faced a potential fine.
In a further blow to education, Republicans unsuccessfully tried to undo the progressive integration programs in Wake County championed around the country, a program that made sure students of different economic backgrounds attended the same schools. Republicans denounced this as ‘social engineering,’ and instead offered a proposal that essentially amounted to segregation.
Republicans even attempted to introduce a bill that would establish Christianity as the state religion.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the things Republicans have done to North Carolina over the last few years. They are so dishonest that any time they try to hurry through some legislation that seems like it will appear to their red base, they also sneak in some wording likely to hurt that base in some way. Are they likely to see it? Probably not. Which is why red states where the red governments have run amok are running into these kinds of problems.