False Again: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest Gets HB2 All Wrong
National disapproval of HB2 has Republicans in NC scrambling to defend the indefensible. Claims made by Lt. Governor Dan Forest about the security risks posed by the overturned Charlotte ordinance are patently false. His lack of understanding for the consequences of this law shows that the decision made to pass it was from fear and ignorance, not the betterment of North Carolinians.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a key supporter of the new law, commonly known as HB2, went a bit further than most. He tweeted a picture from PayPal’s website that showed a bathroom door in the background, with a sign designating the room for men.
"This would be illegal under (the) Charlotte ordinance," Forest tweeted.
He then doubled down, posting a screenshot of part of Charlotte’s now-defunct ordinance.
"Charlotte ordinance opened all bathrooms to all sexes at all times when it removed exception for bath & locker rooms," Forest tweeted.
It sounds odd. Charlotte officials say it’s completely untrue. Forest and his team, though, are sticking by their claims.
Who is right? The answer isn’t relevant to Charlotte bathroom users anymore because the ordinance has been shot down, but it is relevant to the ongoing political fight over why Republicans felt compelled to overturn the ordinance.
First, let’s take a look at the claim that PayPal’s own gender-specific bathroom sign "would be illegal" in Charlotte if the city’s ordinance had been allowed to stand.
Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance specifically said that "this section does not apply to a private club or other establishment not, in fact, open to the public."
A PayPal corporate office is a private establishment. So no, it would not have been illegal for PayPal to have male and female restrooms in its own offices.
By the same logic, Forest's statement that "(the) Charlotte ordinance opened all bathrooms to all sexes at all times" is demonstrably false. The anti-discrimination law would have applied only to public accommodations. Those include places like government buildings, restaurants and hotels.
Specifically, Charlotte’s proposed ordinance said the "full and equal enjoyment" of such places must not "be refused, withheld from, or denied any person because of race, color, religion, sex, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or national origin."
Previously, that ordinance only included race, color, religion and national origin. The city had also banned sex-based discrimination, but in a separate section that specifically exempted bathrooms and other such facilities.
That section was stricken in the new ordinance, which Forest also cited in favor of his argument.