Good news: the incoming North Carolina Governor has vowed to repeal the state’s controversial LGBT law. Details may be found at: https://goo.gl/ovEaqX.
UPDATE: A later story with developing details may now be found at https://goo.gl/RJbgT0.
One would hope that state politics would not interfere with planned genealogy conferences. Sadly, that is what happened when the State of North Carolina passed the so-called HB2 legislation that blatantly discriminated against the rights of LGBTQ citizens and visitors to the state. (LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (and/or questioning) individuals/identities.)
Many companies and non-profits immediately canceled planned conferences, sporting events, and even business expansions in North Carolina because of the chilling effect of the state’s HB2 or the “bathroom bill.” Even the U.S. Justice Department officials are on record as stating the law violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX – a finding that could jeopardize billions in federal education funding. You can read more about that issue at http://goo.gl/qdPS3U.
Controversy within the genealogy community arose because of the previously-planned annual conference of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) that was already planned for 10-13 May 2017 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The NGS managers found themselves about equi-distant between a rock and a hard spot. For background information, see my earlier article, North Carolina’s Anti-LGBTQ Law Will Cost the State more than $395 Million and Even Affects Genealogy Conferences, at https://goo.gl/oDivBp.
The genealogy community, including NGS members, includes many members of the LGBTQ community. The NGS management obviously wanted to do whatever was right for all members of the organization and did discuss a possible boycott of the North Carolina location. However, contracts had already been signed and financial commitments had been made. Canceling the conference at this late date would mean breaking contractual obligations and forfeiture of thousands of dollars. In addition, conferences of this size require a lot of advance planning. Finding a new location and making the necessary arrangements would be difficult, perhaps impossible, with only a few months to go.
The National Genealogical Society decided to go ahead with the North Carolina conference, as planned. The Society did issue a statement of “Concerns About HB 2 Impact on The 2017 Raleigh Conference.” See my article at at https://goo.gl/BBZ9ho to read about the statement.
There now appears to be a happy resolution. The incoming governor of North Carolina has done the right thing: today he said that he will ask state lawmakers to repeal the controversial law that restricted transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Governor-elect Roy Cooper, who unseated Pat McCrory last month in part by campaigning against the law, said the move followed the Charlotte City Council’s decision to repeal the pro-LGBT ordinance that inspired the North Carolina General Assembly to pass the law in the first place.
Cooper, the state’s attorney general, said he already had agreement from the leaders of the state Senate and House of Representatives to undo the law, known as House Bill 2, and that the legislature would meet in special session on Tuesday to get it done.