North Carolina’s Republican leaders all thought they had offered a reasonable ‘compromise’ earlier this month: If Charlotte repealed its LGBT nondiscrimination protections, they’d repeal HB2, one of the most anti-LGBT bills passed in any state ever. Or at least, they’d be prepared to repeal it. Or, well, they’d consider it. Or something. There was a lot of talk of a “reset” to the status quo before either law had passed.
It’s a good thing Charlotte didn’t bite, and not just because it would have unnecessarily rolled back LGBT rights. House Speaker Tim Moore (R) publicly admitted this week that even in the best case scenario, they were never prepared to repeal all of HB2. They would have always left in the restrictions on which restrooms transgender people can use, even though that’s exactly the provision that has prompted nationwide boycotts by businesses, entertainers, and sports leagues.
In an interview with Spectrum News, Moore openly discussed how the compromise would have played out:
There were some conversations with the folks in Charlotte and there was substantial support in the House Caucus to look at a reset where essentially Charlotte would back off this ordinance. You know Charlotte started all this by adopting this ordinance, where Charlotte would back off that ordinance, and then the General Assembly would take a look at where House Bill 2 is and get rid of most of those provisions and just make sure that we kept in the bathroom piece and the other things and just put a reset and have more of a dialogue on this when we come back into session.
As HB2’s proponents have done repeatedly since its passage in March, Moore blamed “the left” for “overly politicizing” HB2, taking no responsibility for the law’s discriminatory provisions.
Later in the discussion, Moore doubled down on pressuring Charlotte anyway, explaining that the legislature would not consider a special session regarding HB2 until Charlotte repeals its LGBT ordinance. Perhaps incredulous at what Moore was saying, anchor Tim Boyum pressed him about whether lawmakers even care about the consequences the state has experienced because of the odious law:
BOYUM: It’s not imminent enough of a need to change the law that you’d be willing to wait for Charlotte to make a move, essentially?
MOORE: Before anything’s done before an election at all, Charlotte would have to make the first move, and that’s been made very clear to them.
BOYUM: But after the election you think the legislature might make a move by nullifying the ordinance?
MOORE: I think it’s clear this is an issue that’s not going away. It’s an issue that’s going to have to be dealt with next year. And frankly, the way we deal with it I think is to get a number of stakeholders together and work through it.
After six months of international condemnation, the people responsible for HB2 still don’t see it as a problem. They continue to openly admit that they care more about maintaining discrimination against transgender people than the reputation and economic fate of their state.
If action isn’t happening until after an election, the stakeholders in the room could look very different — and so could the outcome.