Mark Washburn

LGBT controversy: Put aside your anger and let’s get to yes

House speak Tim Moore talks with bill sponsor Rep. Dan Bishop of Mecklenburg, right, during the debate Wednesday on a bill invalidating new legal protections for LGBT individuals in Charlotte.
House speak Tim Moore talks with bill sponsor Rep. Dan Bishop of Mecklenburg, right, during the debate Wednesday on a bill invalidating new legal protections for LGBT individuals in Charlotte. rwillett@newsobserver.com

There comes a time in the affairs of democracy when we should just give in to the majority.

This is one of those times.

Yes, we should laugh at ourselves along with the rest of the nation.

In its everlasting zeal to protect us from ourselves, the N.C. General Assembly galloped into Raleigh last week, conjured up an instant whirlwind session and, jowls sternly a-flap, erased the latest baby-step in social progress jeopardizing the traumatized populace.

Charlotte’s rule shielding people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was poorly thought-out and little-considered, they snorted. Then quick as a Kyle Busch victory lap, they voided the law and, for good measure, stripped the state’s cities of the right to ever do such a thing again.

It was the provision that transgender people could pick their own bathrooms that sparked the political apoplexy.

Gov. Pat McCrory – known in his Dr. Jekyll phase as Charlotte mayor as a moderate, progressive Republican – signed the bill before the midnight gong, thus curing us of what he called a “radical breach of trust and security.”

Cue the laugh track.

Your odds of encountering someone who is transgender in the loo are slightly higher than your odds of getting hit by lightning, having all your NCAA brackets hit and winning the N.C. Education Lottery, all in the same day.

For your enjoyment, next comes state Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, who thinks Charlotte should cough up the estimated $42,000 it cost the state’s citizenry to host an emergency meeting of the legislature.

“Charlotte brought this all upon themselves,” he said of Gomorrah on the Catawba.

Richard Land of the Southern Evangelical Seminary favored the move. “In North Carolina,” he said, “we stand for traditional family values.”

Does that include families that embrace their differences unconditionally? Who believe in “Do Unto Others?”

Then from the left comes Rob Reiner who said he would never film another movie in North Carolina unless it restores anti-bias protection to gays.

His stance brought a stunned gasp audible across the nation: “You mean Rob Reiner actually made a movie in North Carolina?”

No one can remember one, but anything is possible. Anything, that is, except Hollywood returning to North Carolina with boatloads of major productions because we no longer lard millions of dollars in free money upon the industry in the form of incentives.

But we’re out of comedy now.

Here’s a partial list of enterprises that have voiced concern about the implications of Wednesday’s action: American Airlines, IBM, Biogen, PayPal, Apple, Google, ESPN, the NCAA, the NBA and Lowe’s.

Let’s take a time-out and have another go at this. If it’s the bathroom provision that is the poison pill, then perhaps we should compromise.

Surely, we don’t mean to harm each other, socially or financially. Because that’s just not a laughing matter.

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