DURHAM, N.C.—Christmas is a time for stories about unity overcoming divisions, about miracles that can bring everyone together with a heartwarming conclusion.
This is not one of those stories.
Last week was a bruising one for North Carolina politics. After returning to Raleigh for a special session intended to pass disaster relief, the Republican leaders in the General Assembly used the occasion to ram through a series of measures to strip the incoming governor, a Democrat, of powers they had afforded the outgoing governor, a Republican. It was brazen power politics, a fact the GOP didn’t dispute, and it brought widespread national disapprobation on the state.
This week started out looking more positive: There were signs of a deal to repeal H.B. 2, the “bathroom bill” that had fiercely divided the state and produced hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses. In February, the city of Charlotte passed an ordinance barring LGBT discrimination, including a provision that mandated that transgender people be allowed to use bathrooms corresponding with the sex with which they identify. The GOP-led General Assembly quickly called a special session in which it barred cities from passing LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances (or, for good measure, higher minimum wages), and mandated that transgender people use bathrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate in any public facilities. The law set off boycotts, protests, and acrimony, and is one reason Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, lost his bid for reelection last month.