CAPE CARTERET — This western Carteret board of commissioners agreed unanimously Monday on a resolution in support of North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, commonly referred to as House Bill 2, which was signed into law last month during a special one-day legislative session. 

The law, which has stirred controversy in the state and around the nation, requires people to use public bathrooms that correspond to their birth gender, excludes gays, lesbians and transgender people from protections against employment or public accommodations discrimination and bars cities and counties from extending such protections. Other provisions in the legislation prevent local governments from passing local minimum wage standards.

It has led to cancellations of planned concerts by musicians and bands, such as Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Star, Pearl Jam and Boston, and Realtors say it has cost them vacation business in Carteret County. In addition, the legislation has led to the loss of convention business in some larger cities, such as Charlotte and Raleigh.

But Cape Carteret, after a statement and a motion by Commissioner George Phillips, became the second municipality in the county to support the bill. 

Indian Beach commissioners were first, when they voted last week to send a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory and local General Assembly members Pat McElraft, a House member from Carteret, and Sen. Norm Sanderson of Pamlico. Both are Republicans.

At the Cape Carteret meeting, Commissioner Charlie Evans seconded Mr. Phillips’ motion to draft a letter of support to Gov. Pat McCrory and the state legislature, and the vote was 5-0, without debate. Mr. Phillips said he hadn’t drafted a letter before the meeting because he thought that would be premature before the board voted.

Mr. Phillips raised the issue during the commissioners’ comments section of the board’s monthly meeting in town hall.

“It (the bill) seems like a no-brainer,” he said, before calling Mr. Springsteen a “has been” and saying he would not drive to Morehead City to see the former Beatle, Mr. Starr, play for free.

As for PayPal, which canceled the expansion of a facility in the Triangle area because of the bill, Mr. Phillips said the company “does business in countries that lop the heads off” of people who are gay.

Mr. Phillips told the News-Times Tuesday he took the initiative to raise the issue not at the request of anyone in state government, but because he had tried, with only limited success, to contact legislators on his own to thank them for he bill.

“Unfortunately, when you call up there to Raleigh, most of the time you only get an aide or a secretary,” he said. “Then I saw the article in the paper (Carteret County News-Times) about Indian Beach writing a letter, and I just thought this was something all the towns should do, so I brought it up.”

Mr. Phillips said he believes it’s “ridiculous” for the state to be taking flak for common-sense legislation that’s being opposed by “washed up” actors and musicians “pretending (the bill) is discriminating.”

Opponents of the legislation – which the General Assembly said it adopted because of a local Charlotte ordinance that allowed transgender people to use restrooms that correspond with the gender with which they identify – say it discriminates against a small class of people and oversteps the usual bounds of state regulation of local governments in North Carolina.

Contact Brad Rich at 910-326-5066 (office) and 252-864-1532 (cell); email brad@tidelandnews.com or follow on Twitter @bradccnt.

(1) comment

Equal for all

The federal government must step in and halt this blatant attempt at discrimination. Republicans have gone too far. They have used the apathy of voters in the mid-terms to take hostage our halls of government. Hopefully, they will be routed by thinking adults. This back-woods fundamentalism cannot prevail in a former progressive state. We have become a laughing stock for the nation, and now the world!

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