GOP governor holds door for men in women’s bathrooms

By Cheryl Chumley

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said a bill that’s winding through the legislature to limit transgenders to public restrooms that correspond to their birth genders is not needed – that she hasn’t fielded any complaints that would require such legislative steps.

“I don’t believe it’s necessary,” she said, during a press conference reported on by the State. “There’s not one instance that I’m aware of.”

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Haley went on, the State reported: “When we look at our situation, we’re not hearing of anybody’s religious liberties that are being violated, and we’re again not hearing any citizens that are being violated in terms of freedoms. Like it or not, South Carolina is doing really well when it comes to respect and when it comes to kindness and when it comes to acceptance. For people to imply it’s not, I beg to differ.”

Her comments seemed to imply she would not be signing the bill described by its sponsor, Sen. Lee Bright, as a “public safety” measure, and “totally different from a religious freedom bill,” the State reported.

Meanwhile, North Carolina recently passed a measure that bans local governments from approving policies that protect the LGBT crowd from housing and employment discrimination, in much the same way as different races are protected. Mississippi, around the same time, passed a law that lets businesses refuse service to those who violate the owners’ religious beliefs.

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“This is not a battle that we’ve seen is needed in South Carolina,” Haley said. “It’s not something that we see that citizens are asking for.”

Haley also doubted Bright’s bill would gain enough traction in the Senate to hit the House floor before deadline for consideration.

“Nothing is going to happen with the bill this year,” she said, the State reported.

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce could prove to be one of Bright’s biggest challengers.

“Sen. Bright is trying to create a political crisis that doesn’t exist to save his political career,” said chamber president Ted Pitts, in the newspaper. “Meanwhile, our state has real issues we need to address, including crumbling roads and a [workforce] skills gap. We’ll be working on electing serious senators next year who will be focused on addressing the state’s infrastructure and workforce needs, and limiting government’s role in our lives.”

Pitts formerly served as a chief of staff to Haley.

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