One word dominated the debate over the bill and the Charlotte ordinance before it: “bathroom.” Charlotte already protected residents from discrimination based on race, age, religion and gender. On Feb. 22, the city council voted to expand those protections to apply to sexual orientation and gender identity, too.
The most controversial element of Charlotte’s expanded ordinance was the fact that it would allow trans people to use the bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
One-party state supporters will point to this, and a less onerous religious-liberty exemption bill for faith-based groups in Georgia, as indicating why LGBT voters and their allies should only support Republicans. I disagree, as noted in my last post. If there had been at least one, or preferably a few, LGBT-supportive Republicans in the GOP caucus, the outcome might have been different. At least the Republicans couldn’t have so easily painted the issue as a purely partisan one.
The GOP is going to have power—nationally, statewide and locally—from time to time, so the view that it should simply be opposed and not reformed doesn’t move me. And reform means supporting those Republicans who are with us.
One the broader issue, again we see the effective use of fear over transgender people and bathrooms. The left has never understood why the apparent threat to unisex bathrooms, locker rooms and showers has such power, and that’s why we keep losing. The battles for lesbian and gay rights took a few decades of education and engagement; this has not happened around transgender issues, and I include in this failure the farce of sensationalism around Caitlan Jenner. And so transgender rights become the battering ram to obliterate gay rights.
Finally, I think the North Carolina and Georgia bills are radically different. I support faith-based exemptions for religious groups (I’d even go further and support a right of religious dissent for private businesses that don’t want to provide expressive services for same-sex weddings). If LGBT activists weren’t going to the mat to oppose religious exemptions, such a compromise might be able to deter a nuclear option such as the one unleashed in North Carolina.
More. Gov. Nathan Deal vetos the Georgia law, which focused exclusively on religious freedom and was very different from what North Carolina passed, but was treated by the liberal media and LGBT activists as if it were the exact same thing.
I have no issues with the Georgia law per se, although the governor was also correct in noting that the bill’s supporters failed to provide examples in Georgia of the kind of discrimination against faith-based organizations and “certain providers of services” that the bill seeks to protect against (which, unstated, is due to the fact that Georgia lacks an LGBT anti-discrimination law).
Furthermore. As the Washington Post reports, it’s big business lobbying against religious conservatives on these measures. Progressives typically condemn business lobbying as the root of all evil but welcome it in this particular case.