Man, it's been a week, huh?
First the NCAA pulled its championships from North Carolina over HB 2; then the ACC followed suit; then a smattering of Republican legislators began talking about amending or even repealing the law; then Governor McCrory—desperate to salvage his flagging re-election bid—and Republican leaders broached a "compromise" in which the state would repeal HB 2 if only Charlotte would repeal its antidiscrimination ordinance; then Charlotte promptly rejected the governor's entreaties; and then Republicans slammed Charlotte's mayor and Attorney General Roy Cooper for conspiring to deprive North Carolina of sporting events, because of course they did.
The undeniable, inescapable truth is that what McCrory et al. offered wasn't in any way a compromise. Charlotte and the state's other municipalities would have been effectively enjoined from protecting their LGBTQ citizens from discrimination. The legislature, meanwhile, would give up nothing, but would get to claim that it had moderated its position without, you know, actually moderating its position. That's not how compromise works, fellas.
Of course, had it gone through, maybe the sports teams and businesses would have come back, and then maybe HB 2 wouldn't be such a hot-button issue, and then maybe Republicans wouldn't get pummeled at the polls over it in November.
Neat trick. No thanks.
On Monday morning, Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts said her city council had no interest in revisiting its antidiscrimination ordinance: "We are not prepared to add this item to our agenda this evening," she said in a statement. "However, we urge the state to take action as soon as possible and encourage continued dialogue with the broader community."
In other words, HB 2 is the legislature's baby, and, after months of half-baked legal arguments and nonsensical, oftentimes offensive claims, they need to own it—consequences and all. Let's have this battle out, once and for all. Let's make November 8 a referendum on what we want our state to be: tolerant and inclusive, or hateful and divisive.
That's the choice on our ballots. And that's the referendum the state Republican leadership wants to weasel out of. We shouldn't let them.