Republican bigotry

Judge Marcia Morey chosen to serve out Paul Luebke's term in Legislature

A new voice for justice and the environment steps forward:

Durham County Democrats voted to appoint Morey to the House District 30 seat Thursday night. She is a permanent replacement for a vacancy created by the October death of Paul Luebke, 70, a Democrat who represented Durham for 25 years in the state House. Phil Lehman was appointed to the seat the night before the Nov. 8 election to fill the seat temporarily.

Five people were nominated to fill the two-year seat. Morey, 61, received a majority of votes from a subset of the Durham County Democratic Party that included precinct chairs and vice chairs and elected officials who live in the district.

While Judge Morey downplays her status as an openly-gay addition to the General Assembly, her selection (and Chris Sgro's) by local Democratic Party officers is not something that should be written off as "meaningless," or bone-throwing, or whatever other dismissive term comes to mind. We need more LGBT folks in office, not fewer, and this move needs to be part of any discussion that takes place on the value of the Democratic Party's approach to matters of equality. I'm not saying it should "wipe away" concerns, just that it be included in the discussion for the sake of perspective.

Roy Cooper goes on the record about HB142 deal

Actually, Doug Clark's blog is called Off The Record, but let's not quibble:

The Democratic governor is engaged in damage control today. He even called me, even though my take and the N&R editorial favored the compromise while acknowledging its drawbacks. We spoke for 23 minutes, mostly on the record. Cooper insisted yesterday's bill represents "nothing but forward movement" for North Carolina and ticked off the reasons why.

By repealing HB 2, it removes any directive on bathroom use. "People can go where they want," he said, meaning that transgender men can use men's facilities, transgender women can use women's facilities as they always have. Gone is the language requiring them to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate.

I've been hawking social media today to gauge responses, and have seen a lot of analyses that point out what this deal has actually accomplished, versus yesterday's seeming consensus that it was HB2 all over again. But those who do support this move need to be real damn careful, and not create false hope. Just because HB2's bathroom/birth certificate bullshit is no longer statute, it doesn't automatically follow that, "People can go where they want." If it wasn't a problem before, if transgender men and women didn't have to "hold it" or make 2-3 trips home every day just to use the bathroom, that part of the Charlotte Ordinance wouldn't have been needed in the first place. It was a problem, and still is a problem, because without protections every trip to a public restroom is a gamble. And after a whole year of HB2 controversy, that gamble probably feels a lot more dangerous than before. Here are some other facets that may have been overlooked yesterday:

Historical context of the rise of HB2 and other discriminatory practices

Barry Yeoman at the Indy spells it out:

House Bill 2 seemed like a bolt from nowhere. One day transgender North Carolinians were living low-profile lives; the next day their most private moments were being bandied about without a modicum of understanding. But the new law was not a bolt from nowhere. It can be understood by examining the decades preceding its passage. If history is a river, then at least three distinct tributaries converged in Raleigh on March 23.

The first is the growing practice by state lawmakers—one that took root during the Reagan era—of slapping back local governments that get too proactive. The second is the successful national Republican effort to seize control of North Carolina's government. And the third is the recent visibility of transgender Americans, their push for legal equality, and the utterly predictable backlash.

Before we continue, a few words on what may be about to happen today. The supposed compromise bill that has emerged is, in some ways, worse than a few of the bills the GOP has floated since last year to repeal HB2. But it's important to understand, those other bills did *not* hit the floor for a vote, without some last-minute alterations that changed them into something different. So before we start whining about what could have been, keep that in mind. We don't really know what could have been, and speculation at this time is pointless. And before anybody starts lining up Democrats for excoriation for supporting this bill, such as a Tweet I just saw calling for a new NCDP Chair election to oust Wayne Goodwin, the responsibility for HB2 and its consequences falls solely on the shoulders of the Republicans who wrote it and passed it. They want this controversy to tear the Democratic Party apart, but we can't allow that to happen. The article continues:

GOP leaders floating "religious freedom to discriminate" legislation

Alternate title: "Let the zealots take care of teh gay problem":

N.C. House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson says Republicans want to include “religious freedom” language – similar to a controversial Indiana law – in legislation repealing House Bill 2. Jackson posted several images of the proposed legislation on Twitter Wednesday. “Since the speaker wouldn’t share with his caucus, I figured I would share the bill they are discussing,” Jackson wrote.

The proposed legislation Jackson posted is labeled “Religious Liberty,” and says that anyone whose “Constitutional exercise of religious liberty and rights of conscience has been burdened ... by an action of the state” can sue the state or any state or local government agency involved.

"Rights of conscience has been burdened"? And they call us snowflakes? And for those reading this who don't think such lawsuits would ever materialize, that nobody would sue a municipality for passing a non-discrimination ordinance or other protections for LGBT folks, think again. And remember the conspiracy that had Republicans in half of NC's counties filing unsubstantiated complaints of voter fraud in an effort to de-legitimize the Gubernatorial Election. These idiots are just waiting for an opportunity like this, and such challenges would allow Republican leaders to dodge any consequences for their stances.

About that whole "Let's reach out to Trump voters" thing...

The North Carolina Democratic Party is in the midst of a building season; organizing precincts, preparing for county conventions, settling in with a diverse new batch of state party leaders, etc. There are also several formal and informal groups putting their collective heads together to try to fashion new messages, reassess priorities, and check boxes we've previously ignored or only paid lip service to. There's a lot of brainstorming going on, and that's a good thing. But I think it's important we keep some things in perspective, and not allow ourselves to chase after people we really don't want to catch, because, as they say, you are what you eat. Follow me below the fold if you want to hear more, but leave the small children behind, because I'm taking the filter (what little there is) off for a few minutes:

Filed under "Also not a Transgender offender"

Under the sub-category "The dangers of opposite-sex attraction"

Robert William Woodard III, 28, was charged Thursday with 8 counts of felony indecent liberties with a student, 7 counts of felony first-degree sexual offense of a child 15 years of age or younger and 18 counts of felony sex acts with a student, according to the Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

An investigation by school officials, along with a tip from a parent, revealed potential violations of law, which the school district reported to the Sheriff’s Office. Members of the Sheriff’s Office are investigating allegations that Woodard was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a female student at Chatham Central High School.

Bolding mine, because a) Damn, and b) The girl doesn't have a driver's license, so she couldn't have become involved with this guy off school grounds unless somebody shuttled her around. I suppose she could have walked, but the school is kind of out in the boonies. It's like 4 miles from Goldston, which isn't what I would classify as a metropolitan hub, if you catch my drift. Yeah, I know. It happens, and they caught the guy. But when I think of the misplaced fear of LGBT folks, and the discrimination they suffer due to that fear, stuff like this takes on a different meaning, doesn't it? Real predators thrive in an environment where people are afraid of imaginary monsters.

Thanks to Trump DOJ, Supreme Court punts transgender case

No relief for Gavin anytime soon:

The justices said Monday they have opted not to decide whether federal anti-discrimination law gives high school senior Gavin Grimm the right to use the boys' bathroom in his Virginia school. The case had been scheduled for argument in late March. Instead, a lower court in Virginia will be tasked with evaluating the federal law known as title IX and the extent to which it applies to transgender students.

The high court action follows the Trump administration's recent decision to withdraw a directive issued during Barack Obama's presidency that advised schools to allow students to use the bathroom of their chosen gender, not biological birth. The administration action triggered legal wrangling that ended with Monday's order.

I have a feeling the Trump administration is going to leave a lot of people swinging in the wind, with no hope of any sort of protections.

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