It appears the North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr is trying to back away from the political debacle that has been that state’s H.B. 2, the so-called “bathroom bill.”
Unlike Tea Party Gov. Pat McCrory, Burr said to ABC affiliate station WTVD that he is willing to “roll back” parts of the draconian bill, which was hammered together and passed in a rushed 12-hour session by far-right lawmakers.
“It’s now time,” Burr — who is currently up for re-election — said, “for the General Assembly to take the opportunity that if we can roll this back, that it’s probably in the best interests of North Carolina.”
Burr said that he agrees with parts of the H.B. 2, but wants to strike down the statute which forbids the state’s citizens from using any public facilities like restrooms and locker rooms besides those which correspond to the gender on their birth certificate. He also wants to re-evaluate the part of the law that forbids any North Carolinian from suing for employment discrimination on the state level.
Republicans passed the law in response to the city of Charlotte’s decision to ratify a nondiscrimination ordinance that includes protections for transgender people.
The national backlash against the law has been furious, which McCrory blamed on the “far left,” who he said is getting all worked up over nothing.
“I can’t believe we’re even talking about this,” he complained in an interview with Megyn Kelly of Fox News. “This is not an issue that I started. This is an issue the left started, not the right.”
Burr, for his part, says the city of Charlotte needs to take responsibility for the role he believes it played in provoking Republicans to act.
“I think the legislature should go back and look at what they did, talk with Charlotte and figure out, as it relates to bathroom issue, there can be resolution. There didn’t seem to be a problem before. Charlotte created the problem and the General Assembly further created a problem,” he told WTVD.
“Senator Burr is doing a bit of political posturing here,” Rep. Chris Sgro, (D-Greensboro). “Charlotte’s ordinance mirrors a hundred-plus ordinances across the country that are best practices. No city has ever seen the NBA tournament or NCAA basketball or Paypal leave because they passed a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance.”
Daily Kos blogger Kerry Eleveld wrote on Wednesday, “Burr’s comments build on his assertion last week that GOP lawmakers “botched” the law, and are likely the result of multiple developments, including news that the Fourth Circuit has declined to review an earlier pro-transgender ruling and the fact that Burr is now in a tight reelection race with his Democratic rival Deborah Ross. Originally, Burr said he saw no economic downside to HB2, testily declared that he wasn’t going to get into “that crap” when asked about it, then said he’d “leave it up to the courts” to decide the fate of the law.”
Currently, 20 U.S. states have nondiscrimination laws in place that include protections for LGBT people. No other state in the union has attempted to make it illegal to sue employers on the grounds of discrimination.
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[Hat-tip to Daily Kos]