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As a North Carolinian and sometime professional person, I have had the chance to see both sides of the now globally notorious Bathroom Debate of 2016. At a gender studies conference I attended, the host urged audience members to go into “whatever bathroom you like.” But at local church and school events, I’ve personally heard great praise for “the bravery of our state legislature.”
If you get past the polemics and invective, you can hear the basic arguments on either side. The backers of the law are worried about creeps going into girls’ bathrooms with impunity. Having a daughter, I sympathize with that view. The opponents feel that transgender people don’t deserve to be stigmatized when they need to go to the bathroom like everyone else. I used to have a boss who read that the real business of America was conducted in the men’s room and — considering himself a real businessman — would try to discuss quarterly targets at the urinal, so I understand how the trans-folks feel on some level too.
I hate to say it, but Governor Pat McCrory and legislature brought this on themselves with sloppy legislating. First, the bill included an unrelated provision (that McCrory has now said should be repealed) that eliminates the right for anyone to bring a discrimination action in state court. One could still bring an action in federal court. All good conservatives are also good federalists so, as a good conservative, I would rather these cases tried by a North Carolina judge than a federal one. That’s better for the plaintiff, the defense, and for justice.