Incoming North Carolina Governor Vows Repeal of Controversial LGBT Law, Thereby Avoiding Controversy over the National Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference

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.

21 Comments

I strongly disagree with you on this. What made you wade into this controversial issue?

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    —> What made you wade into this controversial issue?

    Any time there is controversy and a discussion of possibly canceling or boycotting one of the largest genealogy conferences for any reason, I would hope to write about it in this newsletter. Not mentioning it at all strikes me as a disservice to those who read this newsletter and were thinking of attending the conference.

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    “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…” What a preposterous statement. It “happened” not when the state passed the law, with the support of its citizens I might add; it happened afterwards when some of the liberals in charge of the conference and different companies decided to attempt to force their views on everyone else by boycotting, removing sponsorships, etc.

    I agree with VirginiaB, and your response to her didn’t really answer her question at all. You could have just as well blamed the political activists in charge of the genealogy conference if they chose to cancel the conference over their personal ideals, which most of the country do not agree with, despite what you may believe. OR, MOST APPROPRIATELY, you could have instead simply reported the facts — namely that the bill may be overturned and the conference may convene after all — rather than wading into an extremely opinionated, controversial political subject. I don’t expect you to admit that they are “opinions,” of course, as both liberals and pro-LGBTQ sympathizers tend to believe 100% that their opinions are always “settled science.” (Take for example, your opinion that the law “blatantly discriminates…” which you state as if it is inarguable fact). It is those “opinions” and actions which create the “chilling effect” in an attempt to silence any and all dissenting opinions.

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    I agree with you Virginia. Who wants a person born a male posing as a transgender stalking their wife or young daughter in a bathroom. The law was a protection for all citizens. Why must we be subservient to the demands of the LGBT community?

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    Who really cares what made him wade into it? It’s inappropriate.

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Thank you for your follow-up article, Dick.

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thank you Dick for this info. I will pass it on to friends

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    I just want to add my opinion on your response to the queries ,Dick , I don’t know what those people were reading , I didn’t seen any thing that referenced anything other than material pertaining to the Show… This seems to be a lot of ” knee jerking:” going on and shows that people really don’t pay attention to what was written, Their fears and obnoxious responses are indeed unfortunate and certainly uncalled for…. says more about them than you

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Thanks for the update.

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Thanks for the update.

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Thankfully money talks. I know many people from North Carolina and they were all opposed to this law.

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I would like to know who is going to stand at the bathroom door asking people ‘what gender they were born? Would they also ask for proof of their birth gender?’

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You might want to investigate whether or not the incoming Governor will even be able to do this. I’ve seen tidbits referring to the North Carolina legislature passing bills stripping the new Governor of many of his powers.

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UPDATE: A later story with developing details may now be found at https://goo.gl/RJbgT0

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Thank you for updating us on this issue, knowing the status is important. However, it would have been nice not knowing where you stood personally in the matter… your comment of “There now appears to be a happy resolution. The incoming governor of North Carolina has done the right thing:…” was completely unnecessary. Your opinion is not held by all your readers and if these words were left out, the readers would have had the information needed and not had to know whether or not you agreed or disagreed with their own personal beliefs.

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This is nothing that belongs in a genealogy newsletter. Your insistence on writing about YOUR political beliefs is the main reason I did not continue with my subscription to your newsletter. This is only an issue because you liberal elites think it is. The law “blatantly discriminates” says WHO? You? It’s all settled because people like you say it is?? This law was in place for the SAFETY of the vast MAJORITY of people. Get over yourself. You’re really not that important – just another cog in the wheel. No one reading this newsletter really cares what you think about it.

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I don’t understand where all these supposed rights come from. The NGS shouldn’t get involved. Your either a man or a woman. Enough said.

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The issue is whether or not a “man” should have the “right” to enter a women’s restroom, dressing room or shower because “he” wants to. Never before has that even been up for discussion, let alone, required by law. “I can’t imagine why anyone would be offended by that” A reasonable solution might be to provide a 3rd facility, just on the “QT”

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Thank you for keeping us updated on this disgusting legislation. I didn’t realize until recently how many bigoted, narrow-minded, hateful people were in the genealogical community. I often wonder where these people think transgendered people were peeing before. I and many other genealogists, NGS members and not, will not be attending this year.

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I happen to live in North Carolina and would like to respond to some of the comments I’ve seen here. The controversy over HB2 was not incited by liberal boycotts; it was already a controversy here because so many citizens objected to it. Those objections were not in the record because the law was written, proposed, and passed over a 10 hour period with no notice or substantive debate. Many of us objected because the law did (and still does) blatantly discriminate against certain people. Even the law’s supporters don’t try to deny this, instead they argue that the discrimination is justifiable because they claim it is necessary to protect women and children. However, the law goes far beyond just bathrooms to the point of denying recourse to state courts for certain discrimination cases and denying municipalities the ability to make anti-discrimination ordinances. As I was informed by a policy adviser for a local lawmaker who voted for the bill, it was passed primarily to prevent the city of Charlotte from passing their own ordinances, which they claimed violated the city’s charter. HB2 is about scoring political points, not protecting citizens. The very small transgender community is not a threat; the threat is from criminals and sex offenders who will not be stopped by a civil law that contains neither enforcement provisions nor penalties for violations.
Boycotts are entirely appropriate to signify public displeasure over such hasty legislative decisions where they are feasible. I agree that NGS’ decision was a responsible choice and despite recent events I still hope that such public dissent will motivate the legislature to repeal this bill.

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Love how the people who think your opinion on this matter is inappropriate or unimportant are more than willing to share their opinion with all of us. Thanks for your update on this matter. As a Texan, whose state is now contemplating this same unconstitutional stupidity, I for one respect your opinions and also appreciate your wide-ranging knowledge and interests and the free content that you make available. I hope to be able to subscribe to your paid content when my meager genealogy allowance allows.

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