While I appreciate the ultimate point Jonathan Tobin makes about the federal government’s new bathroom mandate in this piece, I am left scratching my head over his opening that ignores some significant facts.
In the past month, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory dug himself a very deep political hole and then crawled into it when he, with an unhelpful assist from his state legislature, sought to defend a new law about transgender people and their access to bathrooms. It was, as I wrote earlier this week, an astonishingly foolish decision for a man running for re-election. Whatever the merits of North Carolina’s position on the law or the issue, volunteering to be the man to stand in the bathroom door is pretty much the definition of political stupidity. Casting himself in such a role in what appeared to be an escalation of a new battle in the culture wars over gender and sexual identity was embarrassing.
But if it was ridiculous for a state government to start involving itself in the question of who should or should not be admitted to particular bathrooms, how crazy is it for this to become something of a national priority for the federal government?
North Carolina’s Governor and state legislature did not just decide to convene a special session of the legislature and start a fight over bathrooms. They were responding to overreach by the city of Charlotte, NC, which has thus far escaped all blame and is never mentioned in Tobin’s piece.
Charlotte, NC passed an ordinance that not only required businesses to allow men to use the women’s restroom, but specifically refused to exempt churches and religious organizations. Charlotte decided to impose that burden on conscientious objectors in the culture war who object because the claims made by transgender advocates violate both the laws of science and the tenets of every major religion. Likewise, the Charlotte ordinance was aggressively pushed by a convicted child predator.
Now, go back and read Tobin’s introduction in that light. Was it really an astonishingly foolish decision by the Governor of North Carolina to take a stand that is, by the way, highly popular in North Carolina? As the Governor himself has noted, more than eighty percent of complaints about the state legislature’s actions came from out of state. Likewise, his present post-bathroom law approval rating has gone up.
Governor McCrory and the North Carolina legislature did not choose this fight. It was brought on by aggressive progressives in Charlotte who demanded everyone, including churches and religious non-profits, comply with their anti-science world view.
Tobin concludes this way:
Whether or not you like the impact of this ruling, everyone, be they liberal or conservative, ought to worry about a process that substitutes the whims of any administration for law and due process.
Yes, I completely agree with that. But in the preceding paragraph he writes
Though McCrory and the GOP-majority in the North Carolina legislature that began this confusing debate have no reason to be proud of themselves, this latest action by the administration almost makes their decisions look reasonable.
Neither McCrory nor the North Carolina legislature began this debate. Charlotte, NC began the debate by imposing the views of a group of leftists on everyone with no exemption and no exception.