House Bill 2 -Why?

I have been praying and studying 1459302521_35083437_ver1.0_320_240for 6 days about a thoughtful response to the North Carolina General Assembly’s most recent work, House Bill 2.  I have wrestled with whether to say anything or not, and my intent is not to offend or upset anyone.  But I have been bothered since I began reading about what happened in Raleigh last week.  And when something lingers like that in my conscience, that means I need to say something.

Let me start by saying I have indeed read HB2, as well as numerous pieces about the bill from all perspectives.  I am trying hard to understand what was done and why.  And I must confess I am left befuddled and hugely disappointed.  I believe this is politics at its worst.  And I am embarrassed for our state.

So here are bullet points to frame my understanding of House Bill 2:

-The City of Charlotte passed a city ordinance to go in effect March 31, 2016 that would allow people to choose the public restroom they felt most comfortable using, meaning a transgender person could choose the restroom of the gender with which they identified.

-The North Carolina General Assembly called a special session last week in order to repeal the Charlotte City ordinance before it went into effect.

-The law that was passed requires people to use the public restroom that matches the gender listed on their birth certificate.

-This does not affect restrooms in businesses or private institutions.

-If someone has undergone a sex change operation they can legally change the gender on their birth certificate. (Current law – not part of HB2)

-This bill also added a section that prohibits cities and counties from setting their own minimum wage and sets the state minimum wage at $7.25, the current state and federal minimum wage.

-Another section of the bill prevents workers from suing in state courts on any alleged discrimination based on “age, race, sex, disability, national origin and religion”.  Only federal courts based on federal laws are available to fight employment discrimination should it occur in NC.

-The legislation was given out to lawmakers the same day the vote was called giving no time to study and vet the implications of the bill.

As I have reflected on this action and studied what happened I am deeply disturbed on a couple of levels.  The reasoning behind the urgency of this legislation per numerous supporters of the bill was to protect women and children from predators in public bathrooms.  If that is genuinely the case then why include the limitation on raising minimum wage?  What does minimum wage have to do with bathrooms and gender?  Is that not state government exerting itself on local authorities telling them what they can and cannot do- something that seems contrary to the values of Republican leaders in charge in our state?  That is confusing to me.

Our leaders say we can’t have a patchwork of different rules and regulations across the state, that it is too hard on businesses.  But on a local level, we already do have different rules and regulations statewide.  Building codes, health codes, zoning and planning codes all differ town to town, city to city and county to county.  That’s because each locality has a different set of needs and different levels of development and different populations, and they serve those constituents as they see fit.  I don’t see how HB2 enhances business in this context.

Maybe HB 2 is nothing more than another skirmish in the urban versus rural battle that is playing out in our state capitol.   That battle has included everything from sales tax allocation to local control of airports.  But I’m afraid it’s not.  Throughout some of the public discourse is the underlying insinuation that gay men or transgender people are sexual predators who prey on children.  Of course this is patently false and totally baseless.   Why do we as a society segregate a minority group by manufacturing fictitious threats and make them the boogyman?  Is it mere politics at its worst or something darker within ourselves?

And, why say that the only employment discrimination claims that can be made are race, sex, religion and age (clearly excluding sexual orientation), and that state courts can’t be used to pursue claims, that you have to resort to federal court?  North Carolina and Mississippi are now the only 2 states in the Union that no longer provide state court protection against discrimination. Is that retaliation against the City of Charlotte?  I don’t understand why any of this wound up in the legislation.

So to me, this feels like so much more than a safety issue concerning transgender people and which bathroom they can use. It feels like pretext.  It feels like a step backwards in public discourse, policy making and statesmanship.  It appears to me that this is going to hurt our state economically. Consider the national reaction to boycotting the Furniture Market- an already struggling industry that could negatively impact High Point’s and the Triad’s economy. Some scoff as large, multi-national companies and organizations like Bank of America, Facebook, Apple, Google, Wells Fargo, American Airlines, Starbucks, the NBA and the NCAA are condemning HB2.  But sometimes an outsider needs to hold  the mirror up to your face and show you things you don’t like or don’t want to admit.

And as a spiritual leader, I am struggling to discern where Jesus would land in the midst of this mess.  I don’t see a lot of love in play.  How we treat one another matters.  How we solve problems matters.  How we disagree with one another matters.  How we balance safety and protection of all people – women, children and transgender people matters.  How we get along in the cities and in the rural communities matters.  Surely we could have done a better job than this.  I speak as a Christian, not as a Republican, Democrat or Independent.  And because I am a Jesus follower, my heart is heavy over this.

Praying for Peace,

Lory Beth

 

50 thoughts on “House Bill 2 -Why?

    • If we would have a public bathroom with one door, one urinal,one toilet and have handicap accessibility….that would solve the whole bathroom issue and there would not be this LBGT ,discrimination flare-up! Everyone could do their business in complete privacy!

      • Politics is messy. This is an important issue, and the rider concerning minimum wage should not have been added to HB2. This bill was never meant to imply and does not state that true transgender individuals prey on women and children, as this cleverly-worded article would have readers believe. The bill, with an overwhelming majority of North Carolina’s citizens in favor of it, was passed to prevent adult male predators, claiming to identify as female, from entering public women’s bathrooms and sexually (or otherwise) assaulting women and children. If this writer, or anyone else reading this article, is “embarrassed” by our governor and legislature protecting our women and children, then I suggest you move to a different state more in line with your very irresponsible views.

      • If I’m not mistaken, there was a high school somewhere in the US that provided separate shower/bathroom for a transgender person. This was for everyone’s safety, including the transgender person. It was deemed “Not Good Enough”. They wanted to be able the same facilities as the other students.

        In my mind, at this point, you have lost the argument on your safety. Now, to accommodate a few, the government will put the majority at risk. There will be issues with men using the Transgender issue to gain access to the Ladies Room and vice versa.

        Let’s solve the whole dilemma by only having separate, door locking, individual bathrooms. One person per bathroom.

  1. Thank you, Lory Beth, for saying exactly what I’ve been struggling to put into perspective ever since HB2 was passed. Your explanation of what was in the bill, its potential effects, and its un-Christlike implications was immensely helpful, and I’m most appreciative of the time, thought, and care you obviously gave this. The bottom line–I couldn’t agree with you more!! I’m sad, upset, and as you said, embarrassed that the state of NC, once considered a “progressive” state, is now seen across this country, and possibly around the world, as backward, mean-spirited, and small-minded. I’m sure there are other words I could use, but they wouldn’t be very appropriate in this context!

  2. It has sadly been my experience, now over the decades, that Christian clergy will very seldom publicly tackle hot button issues. Certainly there are those who often make newspaper headlines, but the silent majority of them seem more worried about driving a wedge between any two members of their congregation than they are in taking a thoughtful, prayerful stance on any divisive issue and making that stance known. I am proud to be a part of a church led by a body of clerics who are socially aware, caring, and vocal about their concerns.

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, with which I and many agree. I wish you would send a copy of this to our Govenor..

  4. Please read the Charlotte ordinance. It allowed a person to utilize not only restrooms but also locker rooms and showers of their choice. It also forced all businesses that were open to the public to follow the ordinance. This would have included schools, churches, and Christian bookstores. If the General Assembly had not acted then as of April 1 business who wished to not comply would be in violation of the ordinance and subject to the consequences. As far as the other things out into the bill it happens most every time a bill is introduced (politics as usual). I would have no problem if the ordinance was written to allow the provisions. But to order them is too much of a reach by the city and it was told so by several legal experts.

    • To clarify… the threat would not be imposed by transgender individuals. The threat comes from predators posing as transgender individuals to gain access to women’s locker rooms, shower facilities and restrooms. The fact is prior to the Charlotte mandate, the majority of society understood transgender individuals difficult situation and understood their presence in restrooms. The point is you cannot go from one extreme to the other without concern. The mandate went to an extreme and caused concern for safety. If someone has completed gender transition..it seems logical they would want to also change the gender listed on their birth certificate. So the bottom line is locker rooms, shower facilities, and restrooms are very private places and if a man walks in and makea a woman feel uncompfortable, she should not feel afraid to say something. The Charlotte mandate puts woman and children at risk of predators posing as transgender individuals. It saddens me that this country places priority of compfort over safety. It also saddens me that people who choose to be honest about their fear in matters like these are bashed and accused of making statements not being said. Please listen closely to what is being said. We are afraid of predators posing as transgender individuals. This is a real threat and I hope people can understand. I hope that one day we can find real solutions to these kind of problems. If we could work together to come up with a compromising solution that promotes safety and comfort instead of fighting two extremes we would all be better off.

      • Good comments. Studies show that less than 1% of the world’s population is Truly born transgender. I am glad those of us that are sick of political correctness are finally publicly taking a stand . In the last few years, those with liberal views or opposing views, don’t like it when others have opposing value or views.

      • Actually, my experience has been quite the opposite. I welcome healthy dialogue about these kinds of issues. But I have experienced being shut down by some conservative ideologies that have no room or space for different opinions. They have helped created “I am right and you are wrong” mentality that is often not helpful. My hope is that we can wrestle with this together to find workable solutions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Thank you for expressing my thoughts. Earlier this week in Virginia a man was arrested as he was dressed as a woman going into a women’s restroom. I believe he was taking pictures from one stall to the one beside him. I fear this will open the door wider for other perverts.

      • Laws vary from state to state regarding a transgendered person getting their birth certificate changed. NC law requires that they have to have had the surgery. There are transgendered persons that cannot have the surgery for medical reasons or cannot afford surgery. Yet they taken hormones, dress and live as the gender of their orientation. So full bearded masculine looking persons would now be required by law to go to the ladies room. And persons identifying as female forced to go to the men’s room. Trans people are frequently subject to physical violence and intimidation. And here we are in a concealed gun, stand-your-ground state. Please don’t dismiss this a “comfort” issue alone. And none of this keeps predators out of bathrooms.

      • The thing is that transgender women are not men. They may have penises, but they are fundamentally not men. They also aren’t rapists and pedophiles as those claiming safety concerns would make you believe. In cities where laws similar to the Charlotte ordinance have been passed, there has been NO increase in reports of sexual violence.

        Let me tell you a little bit about the reality of sexual assault. According to RAINN, one in 3 women and one in 10 men will be raped at some point in their lives. Some sources indicate that for transgender people that number is as high as 2 out of 3. I was raped at the age of 18, and again at 23. Both times, as with 83% of rapes, I knew the men who attacked me. They weren’t predators lurking in bathrooms. They were people I trusted enough to be alone with them, one in his home, one in mine.

        In terms of child molestation, 30% of molesters are members of a child’s family, according to the National Sex Offender Registry. Another 60% are other people known to the child, such as neighbors, family friends, teachers, or clergy members. The idea of the “stranger danger” myth actually makes women and children less safe, because it draws attention away from the people who really are committing these horrific crimes.

      • Thank you for sharing, I can’t imagine what you have been through. You bring up some very good points about the predators verses familiar people. I appreciate your courage.

      • I wish that folks could be as clear as you have been. I realize that part of the safety threat being verbalized is predators posing as transgender, but that is not how the issue gets portrayed. And I did spend a great deal of time listening and reading the different perspectives out there. But I totally agree with you that in hoping we can find real solutions to the problems we face. That is what has made me most frustrated by the actions of the political leaders. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Can anyone point to evidence that trans-imitating predators are stalking women’s locker rooms? I must have missed that. Much like I missed the need for voter ID because of all the voter fraud.

      • I hear your fears and do not understand where they come from but know that they are real to you. Enacting laws such as House Bill 2 will not stop the true predator. All that Bill does is give one who is truly fearful that some man will come into a woman’s room or locker room and take advantage of her false hope. If someone wants to violate another, they will – law or not. Fear comes from not having true belief in their supreme being, being God, Allah, etc. That is not to say that if you believe in a supreme being you will never be faced with danger but to say that a true belief gives you courage to know that you can face anything that happens. We as humans are not perfect so we do have fears. Civil laws cannot negate those fears they only make them more obvious. My prayers are with people who live in fear for their safety, some I know will not leave their houses. My prayers are also for those who break away from the perceived norm to follow their feelings of self. I also pray for those who violate others for their enjoyment whether it be to violate body, soul, or mind. May God hold you all in his grace.

      • “True belief” in a false god is nothing more than fanaticism. I don’t mean to offend you, but your beliefs appear to be so confused. There is a god–only one– and he’s a god of order.

      • Sam, I appreciate the need for order, and we certainly do need that; however, I am surprised at your statement, “There is a god–only one– and he’s a god of order.” That doesn’t sound like God as described in John 3:16: “God so loved the world…,” the scripture I was taught in my Southern Baptist childhood as the central passage from the Bible. Without any attempt to downplay the need for order, I worry about placing order ahead of the kind of love John attributes to God.

  5. Thank you, for an illuminating disclosure of your thought process and a concise description of the key points behind your feelings. Your post has clarified my understanding of this recent house bill. I hope more people read it.

  6. You have said exactly what I have been feeling and saying for the past few days. I have friends that consider themselves devout Christians that are applauding this bill. I can’t help but think that Jesus wants us to love one another and take care of one another. I also feel like the arguments are similar to those used to keep segregation in place by labeling African Americans in similar terms. If you were to pull out the term transgender and insert any ethnicity, religion or gender everyone would be up in arms about the unfairness of it all.

  7. Excellent explanation. I am very grateful to you for putting this into words. I am in deep mourning for our state. We must fight to keep the hate from overwhelming us. Love will triumph.

  8. Please know that most of us (including the Governor if you will really listen to what he is saying) are not saying the LGBT community are pedophiles. The open bathroom law would allow anyone that wants to walk into the opposite gender bathroom/shower claiming they are identifying with that gender at that time (It’s happened in other states). The NC Governor asked people to send to NC Senators ideas that could help keep everyone safe.
    My child has been molested and was completely terrified when thinking that a man might be in the same restroom/shower as she. I’m not sure that you are a parent, (I’m thinking you may not be by what you have written) but as a parent, it is scary to think that a man with malice intent could be waiting in the restroom that my 17 yr old or 10 yr old daughters could walk into. I think we should be looking for solutions for all concerned not fighting over the issues. And by the way, this ruling does not state that a private business could not have transgender restroom/showers, just that it could not be mandatory for all to have it. Isn’t that what LGBT has always fought for, freedom to live out what you believe. By forcing everyone to comply would be a contradiction to what LGBT has always fought for?

    • I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. I agree with you about finding solutions for all concerned. And that is what I found so frustrating about what happened. It didn’t feel like it was about finding the best solutions for the problems at hand but a political pretext. I long for the days when we have a politicians that will work towards solutions and not divisiveness. I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

    • Renee, I am sorry for your daughter’s experience and I appreciate your trepidation. But this law will not prevent such occurrences, nor would the Charlotte ordinance have encouraged them. Predators will always find their way into women’s facilities, whether by disguising themselves as women or through other means. With Charlotte’s ordinance, that would still be illegal. One of the (surely unintended) consequences of the law is that now a female-to-male trans man is *required* to use women’s facilities unless he has obtained an amended birth certificate. How will you or your daughters react when that happens? Wouldn’t that be more uncomfortable than that, perhaps, the woman in the next stall once had (or maybe still has) a penis?

  9. Please read the NC Constitution. Incorporated cities are the creation of and subject to the state legislature. The legislature must act on ordinances passed by incorporated cities. I do agree that minimum wage and employment lawsuits are not germane to the bill and should not have been included, however, action on the Charlotte ordinace was necessary and the Charlotte city council new it!

  10. As a small business owner in NC, I wanted to point out that many of us stand against HB2 as well. We didn’t get the chance to sign on to the letter sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, and I think that was a misstep by the HRC, because now it looks like outside big businesses are trying to bully NC into a repeal, and that’s not the case. We’re just the ones who can’t afford to leave the state.

  11. I am just a concerned grandmother. I have read this and the replys and I am confused now more than ever. First of all, I would never let my kids enter a restroom alone when they were coming up because predators existed 30 years ago as well as they do today. Parents and caretakers should take better responsibility. Today there are transgender bathrooms in many considerate establishments. They are labeled “family” …. Our local Walmart has a family restroom and what a wonderful thing that the stay at home dad can take his little girl to use a gender free potty! That simple solution ought to be law like handicapped access rest rooms are. All futures businesses should be required to include a gender free potty which would solve the transgender issue and assist parents with kids of opposite sex, so a little girl with dad doesn’t have to enter a men’s room to pee like they did in the old days. I remember my dad taking me in men’s rooms because he couldn’t go in the ladies room at the airports in the 1950’s. I remember seeing urinals and asking a lot of questions. Problem solved by adding one private gender free potty and wash room with changing table.

  12. Foretold by my Bible, as Jesus said, look for the signs of my return. We must stand on the Word, not allowing the abominations to dictate our society and laws. I agree , we must love one another, and hate the sin. But has anyone from the Christian community reached out to the lgbt community? I thought not. You are all guilty.

  13. I appreciate the various views of an issue I did not even know existed until a few weeks ago. Complete, well-researched, dispassionate information is so important in discerning a compassionate, responsible Christian view. Thanks to Lory Beth for the courage to initiate this conversation.

  14. Did anyone here give the same prayer time to the original Charlotte ordinance? Where was the local outrage and concern. Why didn’t the Body of Christ stand up then?

  15. I am so impressed with your words, Lory Beth. Thank you so much for having the courage to stand out against this deplorable discriminatory bill. Our community needs to come together and show support for all human beings and voice our feelings of revulsion and profound disapproval. Thank you for your bravery and for standing up for what you believe in your heart. I could not be more proud to be part of Centenary. ~Libby Kelly

  16. Who is going to be at the doors of restrooms checking to see what genitalia each person who enters has? And what do you think would happen to a man transitioning to a woman who is forced to use a men’s restroom? I think this would lead to more sexual predation there than it would ever prevent the other way around.

  17. These same multi-national corporations have no problem doing business in other countries where LGBT persons are imprisoned or killed, and NC is to fear their business threats over bathroom/shower access? That’s politically correct indignation, not a moral stance of equality.

    Plus, Charlotte put conditions in their law that affected businesses in the other 99 counties of NC if they do business in the county, making it act like a state wide law, not just for Mecklenburg County. The legislature had to act or loose control over state-wide law enactment.

  18. Pingback: North Carolina’s House Bill 2 – Adventures in Revland

  19. I’m with you all the way Lory Beth. This is about so much more that an issue of bathrooms for all. Removing the right of a citizen to seek redress in a NC State Court for discrimination on any level leaves the door open for anyone who may not meet an employers idea of having the proper morals, religion, or race to be unfairly dismissed or worse yet, denied an opportunity in a nation that has clearly outlawed such actions. Fight for repeal of this law now, before you find yourself painted with the same discriminatory brush as those currently denied their rights as Americans by the Great State of North Carolina.

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