The following is a column by Mark Shiver, host of “What Matters in North Carolina”
I’ve said repeatedly for months that the Charlotte bathroom ordinance and subsequent vigorous opposition to the resulting legislation it spawned, HB 2, had nothing at all to do with the so-called rights of transgender individuals. Their need to relieve themselves and where they did so was not a concern born out of compassion and concern for them as individuals, but rather it was a well-played political scheme hatched by those who wanted to do everything they could to undermine Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican majority in the General Assembly. They proved that today by repealing their nefarious bathroom ordinance.
This post on Twitter sums up nicely what actually occurred:
— Rob Simmons (@simrob) December 19, 2016
The goal all along was political in nature, a plan designed to put McCrory on defense throughout his campaign, distract him and ultimately cost him his job. It worked, sort of. McCrory did barely lose the election to Governor-elect Roy Cooper. Make no mistake, McCrory’s loss was not a mandate by North Carolina voters over HB 2. It was an accumulation of things, many of which were self-inflicted that cost him a second term.
But lose he did, and lo and behold the City of Charlotte suddenly decided they don’t care about transgender people or their bathroom needs. Their ordinance is exposed to have been a political ploy, designed to get a response from the General Assembly and create an issue they could hammer away at since there were no other issues of substance on which to run. The state has seen a net increase of jobs of more than 350,000 in the past few years, a large teacher pay raise, tax reforms that help the middle class, and high rankings from multiple sources as a place to do business.
In a move that was both a secret and a surprise, the Charlotte City Council repealed their bathroom ordinance that was both a violation of the NC Constitution and an overreach impacting every business in its jurisdiction. Feeling their control over the General Assembly still in place over this issue, they passed the repeal with the caveat that it would be effective only if the state repeals HB 2 by December 31, 2016. While Roberts did say in a statement that they were no less committed to nondiscrimination, missing from their demands was any mention of the needs of transgender people. Is anyone surprised?
Cooper took center stage immediately saying a deal had been worked out between the leadership of the General Assembly and himself that would have the legislature coming back for a special session tomorrow (Tuesday, December 20) to repeal HB 2.
My statement on today's Charlotte City Council vote: pic.twitter.com/qNN8pmvSjv
— Roy Cooper (@RoyCooperNC) December 19, 2016
Cooper was already making political hay out of an issue he has milked from its beginning, and tried to position himself as the new arbiter of bipartisanship and restorer of all things good in our state. The still sitting Governor was quick to set the record straight.
In a statement McCrory reminded people that he has been working diligently to find common ground to repeal the bill, but that Cooper and Roberts and others have intentionally derailed his efforts, again for political gain: http://governor.nc.gov/governor-mccrorys-press-office-issues-statement
— Josh in NC (@JHillVA) December 19, 2016
President Pro-Tem of the NC Senate Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and Speaker of the NC House Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) issued a statement of their own. The statement said, “Today Roy Cooper and Jennifer Roberts proved what we said was the case all along: their efforts to force men into women’s bathrooms and shower facilities was a political stunt to drive out-of-state money into the governor’s race.”
The statement also correctly stated that the legislature was not “committing to call itself into session” and for him to say otherwise is “a dishonest and disingenuous attempt to take credit.” They too recognize that Cooper has and is using the issue of transgender people and bathrooms for his own political gain, both to win and now to boost his image in the eyes of some.
The irony of this is not lost, as Cooper has daughters and a wife and yet hammered McCrory and the General Assembly for months over the bill that would protect wives and daughters in North Carolina from men simply saying they “identify” as a woman and thereby gaining access into women’s private areas. The irony is even thicker now that the Charlotte ordinance is easily tossed aside for political expediency, with the needs of the transgender community apparently no longer important.
Cooper and his Charlotte contingent want to portray him as the savior of North Carolina business, the vanquisher of hate and the great healer of the state’s political divide. Meanwhile the transgender community just wants to know where to use the restroom.