The State of North Carolina may have dodged a bullet after getting a rather tepid endorsement from the National Basketball Association that their 2017 All Star Game will remain in Charlotte despite the state’s controversial House Bill 2. While it is fantastic news for the Queen City and the $100 million pumped into the city’s economy, the Tar Heel State faces an even bigger loss should HB2 remain on the books.
Governor Pat McCrory and state Republicans scoff at the potential loss of more than $4.5 billion in education funding via Title IX, a 1972 law that requires educational institutions to treat men and women equally. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
North Carolina is already feeling a pinch with lost concerts and other events canceling because of HB2. Rock groups Pearl Jam and Boston join a growing list that includes Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and others who will not perform in the state. Cirque du Soleil also pulled out while the NBA debated what to with their mid-season game. The league could still act although there is no indication at this time they will do anything that drastic.
The ACLU and some North Carolina Democrats believe there is a contradiction between Title IX and HB2, especially in light of the federal government arguing that Title IX protections should extend to transgender students as a 2014 Department of Education memo points out:
“All students, including transgender students and students who do not conform to sex stereotypes, are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX. Under Title IX, a recipient generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity in all aspects of the planning, implementation, enrollment, operation, and evaluation of single-sex classes.”
The so-called “Bathroom Bill” not only squashed Charlotte’s city ordinance, it went as far as eliminating protections for the LGBTQ community. Some have called it legalized discrimination.
But now there is a new wrinkle in the fight for LGBTQ rights as the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a Virginia transgender teen who now has the right to use the restroom designated for the gender with which he identifies. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears cases in five states that include North Carolina.
McCrory’s response was that he will have the state’s lawyers look at the Virginia verdict. On its face, the governor and North Carolina legislators appear to have their heels dug in to keep HB2 on the books despite the mounting revenue losses and let whoever decides to challenge it waste their money in a lengthy court battle.
The biggest issue with HB2 is how the Republicans are framing the HB2 law. While it is called “The Bathroom Bill” that is just a small part of it. It has far reaching ramifications to every LGBTQ resident of North Carolina and many of those who favor HB2 only believe the bathroom portion is the bill. It is not.
Now under threat of losing an estimated $4.5 billion, that’s Billion with a B, North Carolina still insists on pushing to bathroom portion to drum up support despite its overall discriminatory aspects.
Originally thought to simply be a political battle between the more progressive City of Charlotte and the Living in the Past politicians in the state capital, McCrory and his cronies are putting the welfare of North Carolina education and sports in jeopardy.
Title IX has been used to punish schools for things like not taking sexual assault seriously, or for not offering women chances to play sports. Don’t think for one moment the federal government won’t go as far as penalizing an entire state because of an antiquated law that clearly discriminates against a segment of society.
If House Bill 2 is allowed to stand and billions are lost, there is no way to recoup the money once it is taken away. It is gone. Forever. Sent elsewhere. You don’t get it back retroactively because HB2 was overturned after the fact.
The Virginia case should put North Carolina on notice that the world isn’t changing, it has already done so and they need to catch up with the times or put education and sports behind the 8-ball for decades to come.
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