Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

N.C. Kills 'Bathroom Bill' But Now Texas Wants One

  • Calvin Wolf
  • Mar 31, 2017 1:39PM

In North Carolina, much ado has been made recently about HB2, colloquially known as the “bathroom bill.” This bill, which has attracted the interest of social conservatives in other Republican states, tells businesses and municipalities that they cannot create their own public restroom policies.

Under HB2, everyone must use the restroom for the gender listed on his or her birth certificate.  This means that transsexuals, who identify with a gender other than the one listed at birth, could not choose which restroom to use. Critics have lambasted HB2 as a thinly-disguised excuse to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Supporters of the controversial bill have defended it as protecting women and children in public restrooms.

According to HB2 supporters, before the “bathroom bill,” anyone could enter any restroom by claiming that the restroom conformed to his or her gender identity…and accost innocent citizens inside. The most common example given is a man lecherously entering the women’s restroom. 

In the culture wars, it appears that North Carolina’s conservative legislature has lost this round.  After HB2 passed, condemnation was overwhelming. And, worse than scorn, it subjected North Carolina to economic pain. The Associated Press figured that North Carolina would lose close to $4 billion in lost business due to the law as companies decide to avoid locating offices or facilities in the Tar Heel state.

At first, conservatives remained defiant, insisting that economic analyses were incorrect.  But now, the pain in the pocketbook, plus the nationwide derision, has become great enough to make the state legislature think twice. The legislature has voted to repeal HB2, which was subsequently sent to and signed by the governor. North Carolina is no doubt hoping they will cease being the bigoted laughingstock of the United States.

But, even as North Carolina rectifies its mistake, the state of Texas stands poised to pick up the mantle of bigotry.  In Austin, the state legislature is still poised to pass Texas’ own version of North Carolina’s HB2. This bill, championed by arch-conservative lieutenant governor Dan Patrick, has already brought national scorn upon Texas. As in North Carolina, business groups have fretted about the bathroom bill’s negative impact on businesses. In fact, the Texas Association of Business has come out against the bill and says that Texas will feel the same economic pinch as its southern cousin did if it passes the controversial proposal.