How many missed opportunities can we afford when it comes to HB 2? No matter what your personal position on the law might be, there generally is universal agreement the law has resulted in significant brand damage and adverse economic consequences for our city and state.
A fresh opportunity has presented itself and all parties need to take the actions necessary to provide for a return to pre-ordinance and pre-HB2 status. Some appropriately characterize the opportunity as a reset. The proposal being considered provides for the city to take action Monday night to effectively repeal their ordinance contingent on the legislature then being called into special session by the Governor and taking the actions necessary to repeal the law by the end of the week.
We ask that as all parties contemplate how to execute the actions needed they do so with a goal of keeping their actions in clean, simple to understand language such that they can be implemented with great speed. No one has to concede any ground on their beliefs or motives. This is simply an opportunity for all sides to say there have been grave, unintended consequences resulting from their prior parliamentary actions. By repealing the law all sides get to recalibrate their approach to the issues.
The proposal also presents a fresh opportunity for a demonstration of trust. It won't be long before a new legislative session begins. No doubt there will be a myriad of issues where all citizens would be better served if the city, the General Assembly and Governor can work together to address opportunities and challenges. By successfully working together to achieve repeal, city and state officials will demonstrate compromise is possible.
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HB2 has become an international term that has characterized our city and our state in a harsh and incorrect manner. Let’s not let emotions associated with national or statewide elections interfere with this opportunity. Our state and our city have grown very quickly for decades. That growth has attracted people of every color, nationality and includes members of the LGBT community. The simple truth is we are and always have been a welcoming and inclusive place where our culture and traditions blend with those who migrate here and the result is an even more attractive place to live, work and recreate. Let's not let others characterize this action as something other than what it is – a unique opportunity to get this law off our books and start fresh.
Ned Curran, a real estate executive, is the Charlotte Chamber’s chairman.