North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is vigorously defending his state’s new law on public accommodation in schools and government buildings, blasting GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s assertions that the law was a mistake and that transgenders should be allowed to use whatever bathrooms they want.
Originally known as House Bill 2, the law came in response to a Charlotte City Council ordinance mandating that all public facilities should allow people to use the bathroom or locker room corresponding to their gender identity. The North Carolina statute overturned the rule, stating that public accommodation policy can only be established at the state level. It also said usage of bathrooms and other vulnerable areas in public schools and government buildings must be done according to the sex on a person’s birth certificate. It made no demands of businesses and allows them to adopt their own policies.
Since Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill March 25, liberal activist groups have protested the law as bigotry, businesses have threatened to pull out of North Carolina or scrap plans to come. Some musicians have canceled concerts, and the NBA is debating whether to pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.
The issue got even more explosive on Thursday. When asked about the law on NBC’s “Today Show,” Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump surprised many by lining up in favor of the LGBT argument on the issue, suggesting “you leave it the way it is.”
“People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There is so little trouble,” Trump said. “And the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife and the economic punishment that they’re taking.”
“Today” host Matt Lauer got even more specific.
“If Caitlyn Jenner were to walk into Trump Tower and use the bathroom, you would be fine with her using any bathroom she chooses?” asked Lauer.
“That is correct,” answered Trump.
He wasn’t done, offering an unprompted condemnation of public facilities having single occupancy bathrooms.
“There’s a big move to create new bathrooms. First of all, I think that would be discriminatory in a certain way,” said Trump, who also said the cost of creating all new facilities would be very expensive.
Lt. Gov. Forest told WND and Radio America Trump has no idea what he’s talking about.
“He doesn’t know what’s going on. You can’t leave it the way it is. We didn’t do anything,” Forest said. “The governor and the general assembly didn’t do anything except to strike down the Charlotte ordinance. Charlotte didn’t leave it the way it was. To his point, Charlotte should have left it the way it was.
“[Trump] is running off the Human Rights Campaign narrative here. He just doesn’t know what’s happened in North Carolina. We couldn’t leave it the way it was because Charlotte didn’t leave it the way it was. We had to fix what they broke,” Forest explained.
Arguing that a person can never be wrong when doing the right thing, Forest said lawmakers and McCrory had to stop what Charlotte was implementing.
“They did something against the law, unconstitutional, opened up all women’s bathrooms, shower rooms, changing facilities to men, to anybody who wanted to walk in,” Forest said. “We had to protect women and children.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest:
GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz denounced Trump’s comments at an event in Maryland and in a statement.
“Donald Trump is no different from politically correct leftist elites,” Cruz said. “Today, he joined them in calling for grown men to be allowed to use little girls’ public restrooms. As the dad of young daughters, I dread what this will mean for our daughters – and for our sisters and our wives. It is a reckless policy that will endanger our loved ones,” said Cruz in a statement.
“This is not real tolerance. The left wants to force its belief system onto Americans across the country and silence people of faith in the public square. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump is all too eager to join them,” Cruz said. “This simply confirms that the same man who favored partial-birth abortion and still supports public funding for Planned Parenthood will sacrifice principle on the altar of political correctness. Trump will not defeat political correctness. Today he bowed to it.”
The Trump comments came just two days after a three-judge panel of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a high-school girl identifying as a boy could sue Gloucester County, Virginia, schools for discrimination since the U.S. Department of Education instructs students to be allowed to use facilities consistent with their gender identity and not necessarily their biological sex. Refusal to accommodate that request is considered a violation of Title IX.
The 4th Circuit also covers North Carolina. But while LGBT activists are hailing the decision as a death blow against the North Carolina law, Forest said it’s no such thing.
“It really wasn’t necessarily a ruling. This is one of those places where the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign and the other leftists out there are claiming victory on something that’s not a complete victory yet,” Forest said. “What they did was send that back down to the lower court again to make a decision on it.”
He said running to a cherry-picked panel of liberal judges is standard operation procedure for liberals.
“The left can’t win going through the legislative process and having the legislature vote on things and have a representative republic the way we’re supposed to,” Forest said. “They went to the courts.”
Forest also has no confidence in winning in the courts, citing the Supreme Court’s flip-flop on marriage. In 2013, the high court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, saying marriage should be defined by the states. Two years later, the justices ruled a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and state laws were unconstitutional.
Also of great frustration to Forest is the complete rejection of “reasonable accommodation” provisions for people identifying as transgendered. He said the legislation specifically calls for individual occupancy restrooms so anyone can feel at ease there. But activists and even candidates like Trump reject that as another form of discrimination.
“The left and these folks with the Human Rights Campaign, they’re like a bunch of playground bullies,” Forest said. “They don’t want reasonable accommodation. They want a winner-takes-all approach. The winner-takes-all approach says this small minority of folks had better win, or we’re coming after you.”
Forest said the Human Rights Campaign in particular looks to start fights in these situations. He said it looks for “radical” mayors like Jennifer Roberts and urges them to take action on LGBT issues, vowing to back them up and relentlessly attack any opponents. Forest said the bullying also extends to businesses that don’t even know what’s in the law, but they’re afraid to challenge the Human Rights Campaign.