It started with bedrooms. Now it involves bathrooms. What is it about other people’s private lives that make some people go nuts?
What causes legislators to create laws to solve problems that don’t exist? Why do some people hate government action — except when it suits their purposes, immoral though those may be?
We are talking about the ridiculous new law in North Carolina that says that transgender men and women must use public bathrooms of the sex stated on their birth certificates, not the sex with which they identify.
For once, Donald Trump said something sane. To wit, Caitlyn Jenner may use whatever bathroom she wants to use in Trump Tower.
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Ted Cruz, who to our great relief exited the race for president, tried to stir people up about the North Carolina law. “It is simply crazy … that grown men would be allowed alone in a bathroom with little girls — you don’t need to be a behavioral psychologist to realize bad things can happen.”
Being transgender has nothing to do with pedophilia, for heaven’s sake. And bathroom stalls have doors for a reason: privacy.
Does federal law, especially the Civil Rights Act, bar discrimination against transgender men and women? Yes, says the federal government. No, says the state of North Carolina.
Consequently, we are proud of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who gave a brilliant defense of the Obama administration’s position that North Carolina’s law is no better than Jim Crow laws that discriminated against black Americans. America is moving haltingly but inexorably toward fairness, inclusion and equality, she said.
North Carolina’s bathroom law provides no boon to society, Lynch said. All it does is strip individuals of their dignity and respect. States cannot legislate people’s identity.
She asked us to write a different story from the past chapters of intolerance: America must never again rob its people of their innate dignity or treat them as second-class citizens.
That is the America we should all want, not a country that permits some states to write laws that cruelly discriminate against people for something beyond their control, for behavior that hurts nobody. States should not be able to pass laws that humiliate and discriminate against someone because of their color, their religion or their gender.
Whether you are a Christian conservative or a committed religious believer of any other sort, you should not be able to demand that you should be able to throw stones, humiliate or destroy the life of someone just because you don’t understand the path he or she walks. That is what the Taliban does. That is what the Islamic State does.
This is a country that does not impose religious beliefs on others. At least, that was the intent of the founding fathers. And mothers, bless their unsung hearts.
So North Carolina’s absurd bathroom law is going to the courts. North Carolina insists it has the right to pass whatever laws it wants. The federal government insists North Carolina may not pass laws that inherently discriminate, and, if push comes to shove, it may withhold billions of dollars it gives North Carolina each year in benefits.
The courts will not rule to uphold discrimination. Meanwhile, businesses and entertainers by the score are warning North Carolina that they will not do business in a state that attempts to legalize impermissible discrimination and hatred by embarrassing laws that can’t and won’t be enforced.
The physically beautiful state of North Carolina, now personified by the egregiously bigoted state legislature and its governor, Pat McCrory, is being ridiculed around the world and for very good reason. What they are doing is evil.
Lynch noted correctly that change is discomforting and that people fear what they do not know or understand.
But that does not give them the right to impose pain and suffering, humiliation and denial of civil rights and lack of respect on others.
It is distressing that with all our problems, causing misery and inciting anger and hatred are still front and center in U.S. politics.
As Lynch pledged to the transgender community: “We see you. We stand with you. And we will do everything we can to protect you going forward. History is on your side. … It may not be easy. We will get there together.”