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Friday, April 15, 2016

About HB 2

Usually I avoid politics in this blog, but I want to make a few points about North Carolina's House Bill 2:
  • HB 2 follows Amendment One, which wrote into the North Carolina Constitution a definition of marriage as solely man-woman.
  • 93 of North Carolina's 100 counties passed Amendment One, in some cases by over 80% of the voters in those counties. Statewide, Amendment One received 61% of the vote in an election that drew 35% of registered voters. The hideous but inescapable conclusion is that a majority of North Carolinians — not merely the legislators they elect, but We the People ourselves — are fully prepared to discriminate against LGBTs and to re-write laws to allow such discrimination.
  • If you want change in North Carolina, start with people in those 93 counties and the voices they listen to.
  • North Carolina is a key battleground state for the presidential election. Political operatives at the national level drove the introduction of HB 2 at the North Carolina General Assembly. It's a deliberate tactic to activate the conservative voter base in North Carolina in anticipation of November.
  • I heard a journalist on WUNC say that Governor McCrory had "changed" (verbatim) HB 2 by means of Executive Order 93. That, of course, is nonsense. The Governor has no right to amend the law that the General Assembly adopted and he himself signed last month. The law remains on the books as-is.
  • Into the 1960s and perhaps onward, a majority of voters in the South were likewise fully prepared to discriminate against African-Americans — and did. The role of the federal judiciary is to protect minorities and prevent such discrimination. Although federal judges don't always do the right thing, often they do. A federal judge in North Carolina struck down Amendment One. But opponents of HB 2 had better prevail in one of North Carolina's three federal court districts or before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va. The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to split 4-4, affirming whatever the lower courts decide. For the time being, judges whose names you probably don't know are very important people.