What’s next? HB2 will be found to draw locusts?
Now comes word that the NCAA, which oversees colleges athletics’ championships at all levels, may pull any championships from North Carolina through 2022, absent a full repeal of HB2, the ridiculous and destructive law passed in response to a Charlotte City Council ordinance allowing transgender people to use public bathrooms of the gender with which they identify.
Action must be taken soon, as the NCAA schedules events years ahead of time and the deadline is nearing.
Republicans in the General Assembly overturned that Charlotte ordinance and for good measure, in HB2 also prohibited local governments from passing anti-discriminatin laws to protect those in the LGBT community.
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Concerts and conferences and NCAA championships and ACC championships in this academic year have been lost, along with the NBA All-Star Game that had been slated for Charlotte. Some candidates for jobs in the UNC system apparently have declined owing to the black eye North Carolina’s gotten over this legislative catastrophe.
Most of the lost events and sports championships happen in cities, and the urban-rural divide has been widened by the politics of HB2.
Gov. Roy Cooper wants the law repealed, and even had a role in getting Charlotte to rescind the ordinance that prompted HB2. But Republican leaders on Jones Street couldn’t get their caucus together, and now the forecast for action to do away with HB2 is not promising.
Republicans are continuing to claim HB2 is needed to protect women and children from being assaulted by people of the opposite sex coming into their bathrooms. But transgender people have been using the bathrooms of the gender they identify with for decades, with little if any trouble.
HB2 was little more than an opportunistic move from Republicans to bash Charlotte a little, to bring the big city into line. They apparently failed to anticipate the consequences, which to be fair were unforseen by many others.
But HB2 came to symbolize, to those outside the state, a discriminatory, backward, angry action out of step with attempts by organizations and institutions to be more welcoming to and more understanding of people who represent diversity of all kinds.
North Carolina’s GOP leaders have harmed the state’s image, and repealing HB2 is only going to be the first step in rebuilding it. Good grief — some other states have declined to support travel to North Carolina by public employees, and some universities have taken that same step.
HB2 was a bad idea that has gotten worse and worse, but the NCAA’s apparent flirtation with cancelling many more events (word of this came in a letter to state legislators from the N.C. Sports Association and Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance) could likely lead to even more lost events and jobs. What will it take for Republican leaders to stop the bleeding?