North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper came under fire Tuesday after offering what he said was a “common-sense solution” designed to help repeal HB2, the “bathroom bill” that discriminates against transgender people by requiring they use the restroom of the gender stated on their birth certificates in government buildings.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Cooper’s compromise, criticized by both opponents and supporters of HB2, proposed that the state repeal the bill, that local governments notify lawmakers and the public 30 days before adopting new anti-discrimination ordinances, and that the state devise stricter penalties for bathroom crimes.
The proposal, however, didn’t cut it for either side, with the stricter penalties proposed serving to reinforce the scare tactic used against anti-discrimination policies, which say that protecting transgender people will give heterosexual men the ability to prey on women and children.
Equality NC denounced Cooper’s compromise, calling it “unnecessary” and “pointless.”
Charlotte, the city that launched the non-discrimination ordinance which sparked Republican retaliation in the form of HB2, found zero evidence that sexual predator penalties require the stricter revisions proposed by Cooper.
“We all know that transgender people do not pose a public safety risk and should be protected from discrimination, not made the targets of it as HB2 does,” Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro said in a statement. “Only a full repeal of HB2 will fix our state, allow businesses to come back and allow for the safety of LGBTQ North Carolinians.”
Republican lawmakers, on the other hand, weren’t convinced that the proposal enacted enough change to repeal HB2 completely, and voiced concern that it was instead a “state-sanction ‘look but don’t touch'” policy.
“Heterosexual men will be able to access women’s showers and bathrooms by simply posing as a transgender individual,” Lt. Gov Dan Forest, a Republican, told the Charlotte Observer. “They will be able to watch women and children shower, or shower next to them. As long as the man doesn’t touch them, assault them or film them, no legal protection would be afforded the offended woman or child. Nothing.”
Despite the proposal’s distaste from both sides, a compromise is a long time coming for North Carolina, with Cooper racing to repeal HB2 in time for the NCAA to make decisions on venues for championship games. A missed opportunity to participate could cost the state $250 million over six years. North Carolina has already lost an estimated $630 million thanks to HB2, with the NBA, the NCAA, concert tours, and more boycotting the state in protest of the law.
Lawmakers attempted and failed to repeal the law in December after the proposal failed to meet the satisfaction of Democrats, with it placing an indefinite moratorium on local government from passing anti-discrimination ordinances, a rule that is currently in place with HB2.