Equality North Carolina and the Human Rights Campaign strongly condemned a Republican-led proposal that would double down on some of the most discriminatory provisions of North Carolina’s HB2 and add a “super RFRA” to the discriminatory law. Rather than focusing on repealing HB2, Republicans Phil Berger and Tim Moore attempted tonight to mislead the people of North Carolina, continuing their quest to shift the political blame they alone bear for the discriminatory legislation they hastily passed. With Thursday’s impending NCAA deadline, Moore and Berger are engaging in bizarre political theater instead of repealing HB2.
The radical new proposal being pushed by Berger and Moore attempts to double down on discrimination by continuing to prevent local municipalities from passing meaningful non-discrimination protections ensuring that transgender people have appropriate access to restrooms, and allowing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to continue. Their egregious proposal would also provide a broad license to discriminate against LGBTQ people that is even more extreme than the Indiana law that sparked a national outcry and an economic backlash.
“This is not a repeal proposal, and it’s not going to do anything to address the discrimination contained in HB2 or bring the NCAA and business back to our fine state. This is the most blatantly transparent attempt they’ve made yet to shift the blame to anyone other than themselves,” said Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality NC. “Tonight’s political stunt by Phil Berger and Tim Moore is yet another unfortunate example that North Carolina voters deserve more from their leaders.”
“Phil Berger and Tim Moore are fighting fire with gasoline. This proposal masquerading as a solution is really an extreme license to discriminate — the last thing that North Carolina needs,” said Cathryn Oakley, HRC Senior Legislative Counsel. “They are literally proposing to pile a ‘super RFRA’ on top of some of the most egregious parts of HB2. It’s outrageous, poorly conceived, and a divisive distraction from the matter at hand – that Republican leadership is refusing to allow the full and unequivocal repeal of HB2.”
So-called Religious Refusal Restoration Acts (RFRAs) are generally known as “License to Discriminate” bills, and this particular proposal would be especially egregious. It is more extreme than the law that brought Mike Pence down in Indiana, it is more extreme than the bill vetoed in Arizona, and it is more extreme than the federal RFRA which has been invoked in one legal challenge after another in recent years – largely in relation to the rights of women and LGBTQ people.
The last thing that North Carolina needs is additional reputational damage because of one more divisive, costly, outrageous law. The voters of Indiana overwhelmingly felt that the state was on the wrong track after its RFRA debacle in 2015 – and that law was amended after just a week of national outcry. After a year of devastating financial losses for North Carolina, the last thing the state needs is another embarrassment on the national stage.