Now that all the back-slapping and high-fiving celebrating the Ashe County Commissioners’ unanimously approved resolution supporting NC’s “Bathroom Law” (HB2) is over, let’s review just a few of the law’s provisions commissioners have endorsed taking away many of your rights.
Are you a minimum wage worker? Did you know the law takes away the right of any local government from adopting a minimum wage higher than the state’s minimum wage?
Do all citizens realize the law takes away your right to sue in state court for employment discrimination based on race, sex, religion and other categories that were previously protected under state law? You can still sue in federal court, but the wait time is much longer.
Did you know the law prevents any local government from enacting a wide range of nondiscrimination and employment policies?
Are you aware that Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendment specifically forbids discrimination against transgender students in any school that receives federal funding? That means the commissioners support the likelihood that $4.5 billion dollars in federal education funding earmarked for NC this year is in jeopardy. I bet that comes as a surprise to parents and the Ashe County School District.
It takes a special kind of ignorance to waste time on a frivolous resolution rather than focusing on improving the lives of their fellow Ashe Countians. According to the NC Justice Center, the county’s median hourly wage is just $12.69. Twenty one percent of the county lives in poverty. Three of 10 kids go to bed hungry every night and 63 percent of Ashe County school children receive free or reduced school lunches. Yet our commissioners’ priority is focused on where folks go to relieve themselves.
But what blows my mind is after watching the national blow-back our state has received since Governor McCrory signed the law, our commissioners made it their mission to bring that same kind of scrutiny to our county. The resolution’s only impact is negative. Just as summer is approaching they grab a megaphone and say, “Look at us; we believe in taking away rights and support discrimination against our fellow citizens.” I guess the economic impact wasn’t important to them as it will certainly stop tourists from visiting our county and will keep businesses away that otherwise might have brought some much needed jobs to the area.
At the public hearing before the resolution passed, pastor Sonny Thomas demonstrated his special kind of ignorance when he equated transgender individuals to sexual predators. I doubt Thomas, or the commissioners, can even define the term “transgender.” Multiple studies have shown there’s no standard sexual predator profile. They come from all orientations and walks of life.
What Thomas and the other pastors in attendance should’ve been concerned about is HB2 eliminates the part of state law that previously protected a person from being terminated from their job on the basis of their religion; including the Christian religion.
HB2 will ultimately be overturned in the federal courts as it’s blatantly unconstitutional and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it treats certain groups differently from others for no legitimate reason.
We’ve been going to the bathroom with transgender people for decades and it has never been an issue. Seventeen states have enacted laws that allow transgender individuals access to the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. If it were a problem we’d know about it.
Now picture this. Under the new law, transgender individuals must go to the bathroom that corresponds to the biological sex listed on their birth certificate.
Ladies, that means while you and/or your daughters are in the women’s room, a person born as a female, but who identifies as man, and who has been undergoing hormone replacement therapy and is all buffed up from pumping iron for the past decade, has a full beard, and who dresses and thinks like a man, will now be legally required to come into your restroom.
Gentlemen, that means while you and/or your 13 year old son are in the men’s room, a person undergoing hormone replacement therapy who appears to be a drop dead gorgeous woman and who thinks and dresses as a female, but in reality was born a male, will be coming into your restroom.
Those are scenarios that will create real confusion and will actually put the safety of individuals at risk where before it was a non-issue.
And consider this. Several states allow transgender individuals to change the biological sex on their birth certificate even without the gender reassignment surgery NC requires. That means a visiting transgender woman who appears as a female, but still has her male parts, could legally use the women’s room in NC.
It takes a special kind of ignorance to inflict this craziness on fellow citizens. How do the county commissioners intend to enforce this law? Will we be required to carry a copy of our birth certificate? Will a new Bathroom Compliance Officer position be created so body parts can be checked against our birth certificate before we enter the restroom?
If so, I nominate Commissioner Gary Roark for that job. He seems highly qualified for a position of such importance.
Ken Lynn is a retired USAF colonel. He’s an adjunct online instructor with the USAF Air University. The views expressed here are his own.