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Charlotte Observer: There’s nothing conservative about HB2

From Tyler Deaton, Senior Advisor of American Unity Fund, a conservative LGBTQ advocacy group:

Last Friday, North Carolina’s General Assembly adjourned without addressing the most egregious aspects of HB2. The law, which allows for state-sanctioned discrimination against transgender individuals who live in or visit the state and prohibits local protections for LGBTQ North Carolinians, was essentially left intact as lawmakers showed little motivation and made minimal efforts to clean up the mess they created in March.

Instead, the General Assembly passed what can only be considered a tweak: lawmakers restored the right to sue in state court over matters of employment discrimination. By failing to address HB2’s more atrocious provisions, lawmakers affirmed a disregard for the dignity and liberty of transgender Americans.

Then, they patted themselves on the back, adjourned the legislative session and headed off to celebrate Independence Day, a day on which most of us reflect on America’s hard-fought promises of freedom, liberty and justice – virtues that are supposed to be endowed upon all of its people equally. The irony here was clearly lost on some.

As a conservative, I value the patently American freedom to live without fear of government interference in my daily life. As such, I find it outrageous that North Carolina is the only state in America with a law that could potentially require an individual to show government documents before accessing a public restroom. Nothing about this law is conservative.

Additionally, North Carolina lawmakers decided last week to scoop $500,000 from a disaster relief fund to help Governor McCrory defend HB2 in court. That means funds from North Carolina’s hardworking taxpayers–including its LGBTQ taxpayers–will be used to pay for the defense of this indefensible law. Nothing about misappropriating taxpayer dollars is conservative.

Even before the disaster-relief coffers were raided, the financial and economic impact of HB2 has been weighing on North Carolina: PayPal, Credit Suisse, and others have pulled plans to bring jobs to the state. Concerts and entertainment events have been canceled, sucking millions of dollars in revenue from venues and the surrounding hotels and restaurants. Many millions of dollars in federal funds and grants could be lost. North Carolina’s reputation as a competitive, business-friendly state has been badly tarnished. Nothing about a government act that cripples the local economy is conservative.

To my fellow conservatives, including those of you serving in the North Carolina General Assembly, I want to say this: we all value privacy, we all value public safety, and we all value America’s promise of freedom. But we can’t honor and appreciate that freedom only when it suits our agenda. We must respect that our freedom is as much ours as it is our neighbor’s.

HB2 is a bad law that will continue to wreak havoc on North Carolina. It can’t be tweaked or tinkered with, it needs to be stripped off the books. As a conservative, I’m ready to roll my sleeves up and help my fellow conservatives fix this mess before it’s too late.

It’s time that we come together as conservatives to stop this senseless government overreach and push our elected leaders to respect the dignity and liberty of all Americans.

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