So this House Bill 2 thing has been quite the cluster, yeah? It quickly became clear after Pat McCrory and company rammed this sweeping anti-LGBTQ law through the legislature after all of twelve hours' deliberation that they were completely unprepared for the blowback—the boycotts, the denunciations, the demands from corporations that North Carolina reverse course, the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit. Much dissembling followed, with McCrory repeatedly going on national television to allege that out-of-state liberal bullies were ganging up on him.
Still, the award for most pathetic defense of this pathetic legislation has to go to Senate leader Phil Berger. And the award for best HB 2 fact-check, then, must go to the organization that made it known to the world, in wonderfully snarky fashion.
In April, the Human Rights Campaign—the group McCrory has claimed is more powerful than the NRA—obtained a letter Berger sent out to CEOs, essentially trying to ward off even more economic damage. The HRC then posted this letter on its website, marked up and fact-checked in red ink.
So when Berger serves up a grammatically atrocious word salad—"Many people including the bill's primary author, well respected Charlotte attorney Rep. Dan Bishop, argue persuasively that the ordinance attempts to avoid running afoul of the state's legal precedent which makes it a second degree trespassing violation for a man to enter a woman's bathroom or locker room by banning any signs designating sex-specific bathrooms in public buildings and private businesses altogether"—the HRC marks it with the annotation, "Huh? This makes no sense. Also, have you met a trans person?"
And when Berger writes, "If one city can enter the marketplace and require gender-neutral bathroom facilities in private businesses, what stops the 651 local governments in North Carolina from setting different standards and remedies?" the HRC responds, "Uh, you do realize this is how local laws work?" And so on.
Legislation conceived in bigotry deserves to be smothered to death with mockery. And while the HRC ably mocks, it also provides a necessary injection of reality into Berger's anti-trans fever dream. No, Senator, Charlotte's ordinance did not mandate gender-neutral restrooms. No, Senator, the ordinance does not provide trans men with a legal loophole to molest little girls. No, Senator, the law did not merely restore the status quo; it made North Carolina the first state to force trans people to use restrooms that don't conform to their gender identity. Yes, Senator, this bill is an embarrassment that has done tremendous damage to this state's reputation.
Thanks for that.