Putting HB2 to a statewide vote would add insult to injury. Yet some Republican leaders, who passed the law prohibiting localities from establishing anti-discrimination laws to protect people who are transgender or gay or lesbian, are apparently trying to use the oldest copout in politics to try to avoid another vote on the issue themselves. Although Senate leader Phil Berger, the president pro tem, continues to defiantly defend HB2, it’s clear other Republicans, perhaps feeling pressure from back home, are getting a little antsy.
HB2 is utterly preposterous intervention by big government, from a crowd on Jones Street that claims to be against big government. But now, facing possible political consequences from people back home who are not buying their demagoguery, some want to do that whole “vote of the people” dodge rather than do the jobs for which they were elected. They need instead to bring the issue up on the floors of the state House and Senate, have a debate and vote on it.
If Berger is a true believer, let him say so and why. If he and others who back the bill think the economic catastrophe – now in the tens of millions of dollars of business lost and with hundreds of jobs also gone – that has resulted from HB2, is temporary, let them say so.
But putting it to a vote on the November ballot? That’s a terrible idea, and it wouldn’t necessarily demonstrate the true will of the people anyway. The passage of such a referendum or its defeat would depend entirely on the wording of the question. And a vote wouldn’t be the deciding factor.