To be fair, HB2, the Tar Heel “bathroom bill,” is not without its admirers. Down in Austin, a number of Texas legislators are trying to pass their own version, requiring people to use the public restrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificates rather than the gender they live their lives as.

As in North Carolina, the argument is that women and girls need to be defended from sexual predators lurking near their toilet seats. The debate in Texas, however, is yielding some points that the Honorables in Raleigh should ponder.

Jennifer Staubach Gates, chair of Dallas’ Domestic Violence Task Force, made the point that public bathrooms aren’t where women and girls are being attacked. They’re far, far more likely to be assaulted in their homes and by spouses, boyfriends or family members.

Gates, a self-described conservative (daughter of Cowboys legend Roger Staubach), wrote in an oped piece in the Dallas Morning News that the “bathroom bill” debate is essentially a distraction. The number of bathroom attacks lies somewhere between durn few and none.

(That was the same point that another conservative, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, made last year when she came out against her state’s version of HB2.)

By contrast, Texas lawmen are dealing with tens of thousands of domestic violence cases — so many, Gates wrote, that shelters can’t be found for all the victims.

(In Craven County, by the way, the private, non-profit Coastal Women’s Shelter can always use contributions.)

If legislators were really serious about women’s safety, Gates added, they’d be finding funds for more shelter space, and more funds to help law enforcement and others deal with this national plague.

Which leads straight to the point: Neither the Texas bill nor HB2 have anything to do with safety. There is no money allocated to check IDs at the bathroom door and no punishment listed for anyone who breaks the law.

To be brutally honest, this is about labeling and targeting a minority, transgendered persons, who are unpopular and misunderstood by much of the state’s population.

Is it worth making the state the target of a national boycott, of losing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars worth of sporting events, just to take that stand? We think not.

Want to really protect women? Find some more money to fight domestic violence and let HB2 fade away.


GateHouse Media