General Assembly passes anti-LGBT law, legalizes discrimination

Reilly Swennes, Editorials Editor

One special session and $42,000 later, North Carolina has successfully regressed back into an age where discrimination is the law of the land. House Bill 2, originally intended to protect members of the LGBT community from unfair employment practices and discrimination, has been warped by conservatives into one of the most oppressive pieces of legislation since the 60’s.

The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) has harmed this state’s reputation, as they have been on a warpath to deny civil rights to those of the LGBT community, starting last summer with the passage of Senate Bill 2 and continuing on with the passage of House Bill 2 March 23. There are several points of contention that need to be addressed, all of them stemming from the General Assembly’s disregard for the opinions, and needs, of those who do not look or feel like they do. The NCGA has misrepresented the non-discrimination ordinance to play on the emotions of their ignorant constituents, and shove those of the LGBT community into further political, economic and social obscurity.

North Carolina has already begun to feel the economic impact of the General Assembly’s actions. In response to the anti-LGBT law, NBA officials have called to move the All-Star game out of Charlotte. Additionally, the Broadway production of “Wicked” has banned all shows in the state, and PayPal has abandoned a 400-job expansion. Vermont, New York, Minnesota, Washington and Georgia, to name a few, have issued non-essential travel bans to North Carolina to some extent as well.  

Throughout the entirety of their discussion of this bill, the NCGA has misrepresented the effects of the ordinance in order to shove their discriminatory agenda down the throats of their underrepresented constituents. The NCGA, throughout their public discourse on this issue, has taken the focus from the heart of the bill and moved to a minute portion, which discussed transgender bathroom usage. The NCGA chose to ignore the noble intentions of ending discrimination and instead resorted to fear mongering, making this about to be an intrusive ordinance that would harm families and their children. They have made being transgender synonymous with being a predator, pushing a harmful and baseless narrative that inspires contempt towards those in the LGBT community. Their reason being is rather simple; they knew that if the people of North Carolina understood the true heart of the bill they would have disregarded their horrendous claims against those affected most by it.

Under a section of the bill qualifying those under the protection of rights in employment and public accommodations, it was amended that both gender identity and sexual orientation be excluded. With the passage of this bill, not only can businesses turn those of the LGBT community away from employment, they can also hang a sign in their storefront window that states “No gays allowed,” a sign that our Irish and African American neighbors might find eerily familiar. The General Assembly has shown that no matter what they pass at the municipal level, the backwards mindset that has infiltrated the capitol building in Raleigh will always ensure that the voices of those they dislike are silenced, that their needs go unfulfilled, and that their lives become infinitely harder than their peers, as if they wish to punish them for their orientation.

These actions are not unexpected, but they are unwarranted. This is a decision made by the bigoted elite that have taken it upon themselves to silence their dissenters. They will lie to the people of North Carolina, misrepresent the truth and invite discrimination, moving one step closer to writing it on the state’s welcome signs.