LGBT
LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual & Transgender) issues have been a major debate in our society the last two decades of the 20th Century and continues to be in the first two decades of the 21st Century. Whether it is marriage, child rearing, bullying or hate crimes there isn't a topic that doesn't include some element of LGBT. Contrary to media and some political talking heads, most Americans want everyone to be who they are. It only becomes a problem when militant activity overrides the civil rights issue. We have much to agree with on this subject if we would not let the very small militant groups dominate the conversation. Separating political agendas and fringe militancy from the honest social debate on this issue is needed. Follow the debate below.

North Carolina Legislature Approves Repeal to Bathroom Bill

3/30/17
from The Wall Street Journal,
3/30/17:

House Bill 2 requires transgender people to use public bathroom associated with birth gender.

The North Carolina legislature agreed Thursday to a compromise bill that dials back a controversial bathroom law, an attempt to reverse a tide of businesses and sports events leaving the state for a policy they considered discriminatory. The Senate voted 32-16 to undo the year-old law known as House Bill 2 requiring transgender people to use the public-facility bathroom associated with the gender of their birth. The House later backed the Senate with a 70-48 vote. “This is what I believe and I hope you believe is good for North Carolina at this time,” Republican Senate President Phil Berger said. “I think it’s the right thing for us to do.” But advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were quick to condemn the effort because they said it still retains harmful parts of the law passed last year. The measure also failed to please conservative lawmakers who wanted to keep House Bill 2 on the books.

As part of the deal, the lawmakers passed a new bill that still blocks local governments from regulating access to bathrooms until December 2020. State lawmakers passed the original bill last year to head off an ordinance in Charlotte that allowed transgender people to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity. Thursday’s votes were the result of a compromise Republican lawmakers and Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, struck late Wednesday. Mr. Cooper, whose opposition to the bathroom bill helped him gain office in the November election, said the result wasn't perfect but that it “begins to repair our reputation.” With passage in both houses, the bill now moves to Mr. Cooper for his signature.

The repeal is necessary for North Carolina venues like Greensboro Coliseum to be considered by the National Collegiate Athletic Association at a meeting this week to set tournament schedules for games in all sports from 2018 to 2022.

It remains unclear whether the compromise will be enough to satisfy businesses that have exacted an economic toll on North Carolina since state lawmakers rushed the controversial bill into law last year.

Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue urged Democrats to approve the repeal despite calls from groups like the North Carolina NAACP not to, as a way to reset the state politically and economically to where it was before the law passed. “Not only is it a question of dignity that we have to debate,” Mr. Blue said. “It’s the question of what’s good for 10.2 million people in a broad sense.”

Mr. Cooper, who took office in January, campaigned on a promise to repeal House Bill 2, which he has called a stain on the state. Former Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, has blamed his narrow loss in November on opposition to the law. Mr. McCrory was the rare Republican to lose in North Carolina, in a year when President Donald Trump, a Republican, carried the state. Other states are considering similar legislation. A bill in Texas passed a key legislative committee earlier this month after a contentious hourslong hearing that lasted until 5 a.m. But the bill hasn't yet been debated in the House and it is unclear whether it would have the support of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican.

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