The HB2 compromise


Governor finds middle ground, others should too

What happened to compromise?

Apparently the word, and the action it represents, is lost on many who merely want their own way and aren’t willing to meet in the middle on any issue.

That’s the case with North Carolina’s controversial HB2 bill which, on its face, is about solely limiting LGBT protections, or at least that’s what caught the attention of the national media and most extremists who have been lamenting the bill’s passage since Gov. Pat McCrory signed it a few weeks back.

But the bigger part of HB2 was about far more than what restroom a person can or cannot use across North Carolina. As is the case with many bills, legislators put more into HB2 than what people were initially talking — and fighting — about, including a portion that took away the ability of all state workers to sue over employment bias in state court, a part that was removed in the law but got little to no attention. It was that portion of the bill, buried within the confines of the legislation, that disturbed us most about its passage.

Tuesday McCrory, under pressure to do something about the controversial bill and the fallout it has caused, ordered anti-discrimination rules be expanded for state employees and has asked lawmakers to restore the ability of all workers to sue over employment bias that was removed from HB2.

“I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality,” McCrory said in a video released with his announcement, the AP reported.

When it comes to HB2, the governor took steps toward a compromise, removing what we viewed as the most disturbing portion of the law and re-enforcing it with his statements about privacy and equality.

Although some critics of the law called McCrory’s order a positive first step, the most vocal opponents said nothing short of repeal will be enough.

And therein lies the problem. Too many are unwilling to meet somewhere in the middle over issues that they view as important to them.

The first cry of foul is always that someone’s rights have been trampled. By rights are not limited to one side of an issue, or at least they shouldn’t be.

Our Constitution provides inalienable rights to every American citizen, no matter their race, their sex or their religion. And while we agree that gays, lesbians and transgenders have a right to be treated fairly, so do those Americans who are heterosexual.

That’s why compromise is needed … on all sides.

No one group should get it all their way, and too often the extremists among us (those who stir the drama that becomes the paramount issue in most political agendas) are the ones who believe it should be their way or the highway.

State legislators, no matter the side of the aisle they sit, always find a way to sneak pieces of law into bigger bills hoping no one will be the wiser until its passage, an allowable pattern that needs to be stopped at every level of government. It is usually those little things, when examined that are at the root of most problems.

It is true, at least in part of HB2.

Taking away the ability of all state workers to sue over employment bias in state court is just wrong. That the governor is willing to do something about is shows compromise.

It would serve a greater good if those on the opposite side of this issue could recognize that as a win and find a way to offer their own meet-in-the-middle suggestions, ones that will show respect to the rights of everyone touched by this bill and not just a few.

Governor finds middle ground, others should too
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