N.C. Republicans Rob Disaster Fund To Defend Toilet Law In Court

* The following is an opinion column by R Muse *

Although the immediate furor over North Carolina’s hate-inspired HB2, or what is known as the “bathroom law,” has waned, and the state legislature adjourned making the law unassailable for the time being, it is still having deleterious effects. The effects of the religious law have now taken a new turn and only because Republicans decided to rob $500,000 from North Carolina’s disaster relief fund so Governor Pat McCrory can defend the religious edicts in court.

Because North Carolina’s Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) has refused to defend the heinously unconstitutional law in court, and called it what it is, “a national embarrassment” legalizing “broad-based discrimination,” MrCrory has to hire outside counsel to defend the law. McCrory, in typical Republican fashion, went to the Republican Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Harry Brown and asked him to rob $500,000 from North Carolina’s disaster relief fund to cover his legal fees to defend the discriminatory law in court. Apparently, in one sense, even McCrory and his hate-fueled Republican legislature considers the toilet law a disaster after all.

Here’s the thing though: the “bathroom” aspect of the law is, although atrocious, just a small part of what is surely the most comprehensive license to discriminate ever proposed, much less enacted, in the nation. Republicans are using the fright factor of a transgender person sneaking a peek at somebody’s momma or baby girl going to the toilet, but that entire issue covers over the real atrocities included in HB2; something that entertainers, celebrities, and corporate leaders are well aware of.

Now, it is worth repeating because very few Americans are aware of all the badness that HB2 really entails, there has not been the level of outrage the religious law warrants. North Carolina Republicans are not just targeting transgender people with some kind of religious and bizarre “toilet-genital law.” It’s true the fear mongering over a trans person sneaking in to spy on somebody urinating is what religious Republicans are selling to promote HB2 and garner support for it, but the toilet aspect of the law is a very minor section by design. It is curious why very few Americans haven’t questioned why corporations, rock stars, and sports teams are livid and boycotting the state to “encourage” the religious Republicans to revoke the law.

That so-called “toilet law,” HB2, is the ultimate “license to discriminate” against anyone save white Christian males. The preponderance of opponents of HB2 are not transgender persons any more than Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jordan or owners of major corporations are; but those celebrity types and entertainers have wives, friends who are people of color, and LGBT people working for them. Regardless their fame, notoriety and wealth, they or their associates, families and employees are just as much a target of HB2’s discriminatory policies as gays, people of color, single mothers, Muslims, transgender people or women in the workplace.

Basically any group unfortunate enough to be trapped in a Hell-hole like North Carolina is adversely affected by the “toilet law.” It is why so many decent Americans, entertainers, and corporations are boycotting or fleeing the state; it is not just because transgender people want to use a toilet.

Americans don’t understand just how horrid, and unconstitutional, the North Carolina Republican “toilet law” is or why Republican theocrats are robbing disaster relief funds to defend it.  Here are just a few of the blatantly discriminatory aspects of a truly nasty religious Republican law; one that makes any other state’s “license to discriminate” efforts pale in comparison.

HB2 completely abolishes any state law prohibiting wrongful termination of an employee on the basis of the color of a person’s skin. The last sentence of § 143-422.3 does so explicitly and one of the law’s authors, Representative Bishop, “was forced to admit that in committee and on the floor of the House.” In fact, North Carolina joined the only other state in the nation, Mississippi, in abolishing laws prohibiting all types of employment discrimination. By now it’s apparent that Mississippi’s law was a gross violation of the 1st and 14th Amendment according to common sense and a decision by a United States District Court. North Carolina’s law is equally unconstitutional and it is why Republicans robbing half-a-million dollars from disaster relief to defend it is an abomination.

Some of the other unconstitutional atrocities in HB2 are eliminating any and all laws forbidding discrimination in the workplace on the basis of national origin or ethnicity. HB2 also eliminates any and all existing laws protecting women from being demoted, transferred, or terminated from their job because of their gender.

HB2 abolished the only existing local ordinance and protection for LGBT citizens in North Carolina and explicitly banned any city, county or community government from ever enacting any such protections again in the future. And, it is noteworthy that religious Republicans needed two sections, § 143-222.3 and 222.1, to guarantee that there is no confusion about the state not tolerating laws or ordinances expressly enacted to protect the LGBT community against discrimination.

Republicans also inserted some nasty provisions with no apparent connection to the toilet, race, religion, or sexual preference and attacked citizens’ right to earn a minimum wage. In Section  § 2.1 it expressly overturns and eliminates all existing local authority to observe minimum wage standards for workers, as well as eliminates any future, and all existing, local ordinances enacting family leave policies, child welfare protections, limits on consecutive hours an employ can be forced to work without any kind of break, bathroom, lunch, or otherwise.

There are plenty of other abominations in HB2 and none of them are related to toilets or transgender people. In fact, it is fair to state that there are no citizens in North Carolina who are not going to be affected by a seriously hateful and typically religious conservative law. It is precisely why such a broad sampling of people and businesses are railing against the North Carolina Republicans.

Many entertainers and celebrities such as Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen, members of Pearl Jam, Bryan Adams, and Cirque du Soleil among many other entertainers canceled their North Carolina shows, not because they are transgender, but because they comprehend that no-one is safe or immune from HB2’s legalized discrimination.

Thus far, since Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed HB2 into law, well over 5,000 jobs moved out of state. And, over 400 companies, including corporate giants like Facebook, Apple, PayPal, Pyramid Country and StopPack have expressed anger and warned they will move or cancel plans to expand if HB2 is not revoked; a move that will cost the state hundreds-of-millions of dollars in addition to that already lost.

According to a conservative estimate nearly three months ago by NBC, North Carolina had already lost $186 million in revenue due to boycotts; ABC News puts that figure well above $300 million. Add to that devastating loss the threat that the federal government can legally withhold billions in aid until religious Republicans decide to adhere to the federal laws and the Constitution. It leads one to wonder why there is no civil unrest forcing Republicans to revoke the license to discriminate against everyone.

It’s more than likely that many Americans wonder what their country would look like with Republicans running the nation. If so, they should peruse the entirety of HB2 and imagine that no Americans, except white Christian males, are afforded any protection against blatant religion-based discrimination or would be forced to work 18-hour days without a break or a minimum wage.

If any American doesn’t believe Republicans would hesitate to enact an HB2-type law at the federal level, consider that there has been little-to-no outrage from congressional Republicans over a religious Republican law targeting all but a very few North Carolina residents, not just transgender people. And now N.C. Republicans are robbing disaster relief funds to defend that religious hate law to sate those nasty evangelical terrorists pushing an ugly Christian version of Sharia Law.

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