You can tell when a real compromise has been reached: Many on both sides remain mad. That’s the case with the repeal Thursday afternoon of House Bill 2, the “bathroom bill” that discriminated against transgender people. Many on the right say the repeal went too far. Many on the left say it didn’t go far enough.
But many in the state are breathing a sigh of relief. We hope all the business dollars and jobs lost will start returning, along with our reputation as a caring place. We hope the NCAA, which had reportedly given our state until noon Thursday to repeal the bill or be excluded from planning for championship games for 2018-2022, puts us back in the game.
We hope that the rest of the world will see us as a welcoming and compassionate state that can correct its mistakes and learn from them. And we hope our GOP leaders and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper can bring a similar spirit of cooperation to all the work ahead of them, especially that of bringing in jobs and improving public education.
The legislature passed the repeal Thursday and Cooper signed it into law. He had said in a press release Wednesday night: “I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow. It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.”
The repeal bill, HB 142, is not perfect. It should have gone further to protect LGBT people from discrimination. But as the old saying goes, we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The compromise bill repeals HB2, but leaves regulation of multiple occupancy restrooms, showers or changing facilities to the state, The Charlotte Observer reported. It places a moratorium on local ordinances regulating public accommodations or private employment practices until Dec. 1, 2020.
HB2, that solution in search of a problem, that of transgender people supposedly assaulting women and children in bathrooms, was a disaster from its start one year ago that left much of the country recoiling away from us, unjustly seeing all of us as being as backward as the law was. It required people to use the public bathroom that corresponded with their birth gender. Our editorial board and ones across the state demanded the legislature repeal the law. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders Tim Moore of the House and Phil Berger of the Senate hunkered in their bunkers, roaring back at all the critics.
McCrory lost his seat to Cooper. Cooper, Berger and Moore tangled publicly over a compromise repeal right up until early this week. Then, Wednesday night, they finally hit their compromise.
We know it wasn’t easy for them. So take a break, gentlemen. Enjoy Carolina’s trip to the Final Four in Phoenix, and hope for a return of many NCAA games to this state. Then get back to work. Keep up that spirit of cooperation for the good of our state.
— The Winston-Salem Journal