A Democratic state lawmaker says he now regrets his decision to vote in favor of the North Carolina law that overrode local provisions protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination.
State Rep. Billy Richardson (D) penned an op-ed in the the Fayetteville Observer on Monday, writing that he “made the wrong vote and we must now make it right.”
“Since our hasty vote on HB2, I have been haunted by the fact that in one rushed action, I undermined a lifetime of fighting against those who would demonize a group of citizens to gain political advantage and to advance an unjust agenda,” he wrote. “Instead of recognizing the right to be free of discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation, HB2 gives green light to this discrimination in housing, employment and other areas.”
Richardson noted that in addition to barring protections for LGBT individuals and keeping transgender individuals from using the public bathrooms that align with their gender identity, the bill also removes employees’ ability to sue over workplace discrimination under state law.
“Because of HB2, we now live in a state that has closed our state courts to citizens who suffer discrimination for practicing their Christian faith or other religious beliefs, or because of their race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability,” he wrote.
Richardson called on his colleagues in the North Carolina legislature to “repeal this hurtful, overreaching and unnecessary law.”
“When the legislature reconvenes, I will support legislation toward that end,” he wrote. “In America and in the Old North State, we celebrate diversity, we don’t condemn it. In North Carolina we defend people’s equal protection under our laws, we don’t diminish them. In North Carolina, we do the right thing, even when it is hard.”
Richardson was one of 12 Democrats in the state House who voted for the law. The Democratic caucus in the state Senate walked out in protest during that chamber’s vote on the bill.
H/t Huffington Post