Compromise is a virtue. That’s a no-brainer, right? We’d probably all agree that without it Congress would never pass a law, marriages would implode, and parents and their children would wage constant war.
But is compromise always the moral choice?
Did Chamberlain’s 1938 compromise with Hitler (which we now call “appeasement”) create “peace in our time,” as he promised? Should you compromise if your spouse refuses to break off a long-term affair? Or if your child insists on dropping out of school at 15? (“Okay, Honey, you can skip your sophomore year, but no more.”)
Compromise is not always a virtue. We don’t compromise our principles, and we don’t compromise on human rights. That’s why we cannot support HB186, a bill that pretends to be a compromise but still disenfranchises North Carolina’s LBGTQ citizens, a bill that is, in fact, merely HB2 in sheep’s clothing.
Don’t forget North Carolina has been excoriated in the national and international press; that HB2 has outstripped Mayberry as the single most-known fact about our state; that in February it even landed us on Jeopardy!
Don’t forget that in one year HB2 has cost the state’s economy at least $650 million and an untold number of jobs because corporations like PayPal and Deutsche Bank; performers like Springsteen and entertainment outlets like Turner Broadcasting and Lionsgate; and sports franchises such as the NCAA, NBA, and ACC have pulled their business out of the state. (And don’t believe HB186 is going to fool any of them, despite what you’ve been told.)
Don’t forget HB2 was passed in under nine hours by state legislators who hadn’t even read it and that the Republican leadership broke its promise to repeal it if the Charlotte City Council first repealed its nondiscrimination ordinance. And don’t forget it was driven by emotion and unsupported by facts.
When former Gov. Pat McCrory was asked on Meet the Press to name one case of a transgender person who had committed a crime in a restroom or locker room, he couldn’t—because there aren’t any. The truth is this: members of the transgender community are most in danger of those assaults.
Don’t forget the bill’s bathroom provisions are both illogical and unenforceable. None of us carry our birth certificates when we leave home, and if we did, police officers have better things to do than stand guard at public bathroom doors checking them. And if safety is the prime concern, as we’ve been told repeatedly, they’ve got it backwards. Would you feel safe if a transgender male who looks and thinks and dresses like a man joined you and your daughters in a public restroom, as the current law requires?
But above all, remember this. HB2 has always been about discrimination, and so is HB186. It still takes away a municipality’s right to regulate its own public restrooms. But the law has always had a bigger agenda than bathrooms. HB186 still prohibits any municipality from passing a law to protect its LGBTQ citizens, at least without a public referendum. And that, as Gov. Roy Cooper has said, “would be like putting the Civil Rights Act to a popular vote in the South during the 1960s.”
You may have recently read D.G. Martin’s column that suggests both sides sit around a table, share a meal, and “get our state out of the HB2 mess we have made for ourselves.” (We’d like to ask him, “Why is a bill like this worthy of compromise? And how did we get the blame?”)
Call your legislators. Tell them we don’t compromise on human rights. Tell them we’ll accept nothing more or less than a clean repeal of HB2.
This article was submitted by members of the Scotland County Democratic Women, Bonnie Kelley, Jan Schmidt, Nancy Barrineau, and Mary Evans.