Every day, it seems, Americans are waking up to new expressions of punitive hatefulness erupting in state legislative chambers, mostly but certainly not exclusively in the South.
From The New Civil Rights Movement, we learn that
Led by Republican Speaker Tim Moore (photo), Republican House lawmakers in North Carolina have just passed a sweepingly broad anti-gay bill in a special session called just for this one bill. The bill will void all local nondiscrimination ordinances. It will also mandate that all public accommodations ordinances, all minimum wage ordinances, and all employment discrimination ordinances come only from the General Assembly – state lawmakers – effectively banning any localities from protecting citizens in any of these areas.
The bill, HB 2, passed by a huge margin, 83-24, after less than three hours of debate and just 30 minutes of public comment.
HB 2 now heads to the Senate, who will take it up immediately.
It is expected to pass and Governor Pat McCrory, who called for the bill, is fully expected to sign it.
So–as long as we are striking back at LGBT citizens who have had the nerve to demand equal treatment before the law and the right to use a gender-identity-appropriate bathroom–let’s also pile on and punish the working poor, minorities, women….It is really hard to fathom what could impel an elected official to vote for a measure this hateful.
It’s worth noting that this North Carolina eruption is yet another illustration of the growing divide between urban and rural Americans; this special legislative session is a response to the passage of a nondiscrimination measure in Charlotte. In North Carolina–like other states, including Indiana–rural areas wield disproportionate influence in the statehouse.
It may also be that these lawmakers feel free to act on their bigotries because they are confident they will not have to defend their votes in a democratic election. After all, it can’t be coincidental that North Carolina is the most gerrymandered state in the country, and is currently embroiled in litigation over that fact, and over the state’s other assaults on voting rights.
I refuse to believe that this measure is an accurate reflection of North Carolina voter sentiment. This despicable behavior is what you get when the legislators choose their voters, rather than the other way around.