State Sen. Jeff Tarte, a Cornelius Republican, said Friday during a forum that he doesn’t envision a compromise on House Bill 2, and that the issue will likely be settled by the courts.
“I don’t think there is an answer,” he said during an event hosted by the Lake Norman Chamber. “It will be played out in the courts.”
Tarte discussed HB2 with his colleague, Sen. Joel Ford, a Charlotte Democrat.
Tarte voted for HB2 in March, while Ford voted against it. During the discussion, both men tried to take a middle ground on HB2, saying they hope an agreement could be reached.
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Two weeks ago, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts met with legislative leaders, who proposed that the City Council take a symbolic vote to repeal Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance that extended legal protections to the LGBT community. In return, the state might modify HB2.
A week later, a group of council members – two Republicans and two Democrats – met with House Speaker Tim Moore and spoke by telephone with Senate leader Phil Berger.
That group of council members appears more interested in making a concession to the General Assembly. But Roberts has said that LGBT rights are “non-negotiable,” and she could veto their decision.
“One of the heartburns I have is the attitude and posture of the mayor and City Council and the legislature,” Ford said. “In between is us. Nothing is getting done.”
Ford said he opposes discrimination.
“We shouldn’t struggle to treat human beings with respect,” he said. “As humans we have to find common ground on how to respect one another. We have other issues that we need to be working on. We are a growing dynamic and diverse community. We are stuck on how to treat one another?”
But he said the issue of transgender men and women using the bathroom that matches their gender identity has been difficult for people to accept, and said his wife had concerns about how the policy would have been implemented.
Tarte also said he opposes all forms of discrimination.
He was asked by an audience member whether he would have supported having nondiscrimination protections for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals, but with limits on transgender individuals using bathrooms.
Tarte asked why that wasn’t federal law already. “I would love for the feds to say that,” he said.
But he said he doesn’t think Charlotte should be able to have its own nondiscrimination ordinance. He compared it with the confusion it would create if individual towns and cities could opt out of daylight saving time.
Tarte said Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance was flawed because “it would allow men to go into women’s showers.”
“That’s the problem,” he said.
The city of Charlotte’s position is that its ordinance wouldn’t have allowed men to enter a women’s locker room.
A transgender woman could have used a women’s locker room if the Charlotte ordinance had remained. But the Charlotte City Attorney’s office has said that if the transgender woman hadn’t had a sex change operation, it would be against the law for her to expose herself in the locker room. The transgender woman would have to use some sort of private changing area and a private shower area.