With the Justice Department making good on their threat to sue the state over HB2's Title IX violations of the Civil Rights Act, NC GOP Gov. Pat McCrory wants Republicans in Congress to maybe, you know, get rid of that part of the law altogether.
Speaking to CNN host Jake Tapper on Wednesday, McCrory accused Democrats of starting a fight over transgender bathroom rights by passing an ordinance in the City of Charlotte that allowed transgender people to visit public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
“I think that this was an argument that we didn’t need to have,” McCrory opined. “But this is an agenda by the far left. And for some reason, the national media is saying the far right brought this up. I had no interest in this subject.”
“But the Justice Department is basically making a civil rights claim that every private sector employer in the U.S. and every university in the United States must have gender expression or gender identity bathroom choices for individuals,” the governor complained.
Tapper pointed out that transgender children “have a very difficult time fitting in, they have very high suicide rates.”
“What are you telling the teachers at schools in North Carolina where, say, a 12-year-old who identifies as a girl, though her birth certificate says boy, what do you tell teachers about her if she’s using the girl’s bathroom?” the CNN host wondered.
McCrory argued that the solution was to “make special circumstances” by allowing the transgender girl to use a segregated bathroom.
“But now the Civil Right Division of the U.S. Justice Department has deemed those types of arrangements to be discriminatory,” McCrory remarked.
Right. Charlotte's bathroom ordinance made it necessary for Republicans to pass a law in 12 hours that dealt with eliminating local minimum wage and ending the right to sue over labor discrimination in state courts. Yeah, Sure. THEY picked that fight.
“But to have the Justice Department come out with a massive interpretation of the Civil Rights Act for every employer in the United States now is something that I think need clarification by the federal courts.”
In fact, McCrory suggested that Congress should take a look at gutting the entire Civil Rights Act over the issue.
“I think there’s a time where the Republicans and the Democrats in this Congress need to revisit the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and revisit all this issue,” the first-term governor opined. “Because these are complex issues and North Carolina for whatever reason politically has become the target by the left on this agenda.”
Gosh, we don't know why anyone would pick on us when all we did was make a state law enshrining discrimination against a certain minority class of people. I can't imagine why the federal government would be upset at a Southern state doing that.
Meanwhile, let's talk about who are the bullies in this scenario.
While Republican state leaders have complained about being "bullied" by the federal government over House Bill 2, lobbyists in Raleigh tell WRAL News they and the businesses they represent are being bullied by state lawmakers seeking to silence business opposition to the new law.
Lobbyists say they've been told – either directly by legislative leaders or by lawmakers' staff – that, if they or the businesses they represent speak out publicly against House Bill 2, they can expect retribution from House and Senate leaders.
Legislation they want won't move, and other bills could actually target them.
WRAL News spoke with 11 lobbyists who have experienced or are aware of such actions, but none would speak on the record for fear they would lose business or be targeted for retribution. One has already lost business.
One long-time lobbyist called the pressure a "gross abuse of power." Another veteran lobbyist labeled it "vicious," adding, "I've never seen anything like it."
Rep. Chris Sgro, D-Guilford, an outspoken critic of House Bill 2, said he's heard about the problem.
"It's really disturbing. It's a bullying tactic that potentially leadership is using," Sgro said. "If it’s true that businesses are being threatened that they need to ignore their bottom line in favor of terrible public policy, that’s just irresponsible. That needs to stop immediately.
It's one thing for a private business to say "we don't agree with this law." It's another thing entirely for a government to punish private businesses for disagreeing with them, and that is literally the definition of the Freedom of Speech clause in the First Amendment.
So yeah, there's yet another civil rights violation that NC can look forward to being sued over.