No, North Carolina Isn’t Really Killing Its Anti-Trans Law

The state is only pretending to repeal its bathroom discrimination

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Mar 30, 2017 at 11:58 AM ET

The proliferate news wire headline of late has North Carolina’s anti-trans bathroom bill, HB2, costing the state $3.76 billion over the next dozen years. Naturally, the government of North Carolina has fixed the issue, right?

No, don’t be silly, of course they aren’t going to stop promoting intolerance and making life difficult for an already vulnerable transgender population. Instead, North Carolina is going to shrewdly re-package its prejudicial legislation in a way that looks good in order to save the state economy from taking a hit.

While headlines such as this one in the New York Times—“North Carolina Strikes a Deal to Repeal Restrictive Bathroom Law”—is technically true, it presents an incomplete accounting of what’s reportedly happening in the Tar Heel State. While HB2 may technically be repealed, the state will instead prohibit state municipalities from passing their own nondiscrimination ordinances through 2020

Yes, you read that right: the state isn’t just condoning the idea of discrimination, but actually going so far as to etch an embargo against protective measures into the books. For those who consider equal protection under the law for everyone, including persecuted communities, to be the fair and decent thing, this new law essentially changes the sin from one of commission to omission.

The sporting world has certainly done its share to increase pressure on the state and force action, even if this sidestep is not movement in the progressive direction. The NBA already moved its All-Star Game because of the bill and the NCAA, an organization with few redeeming policies, deserves some rare and significant credit for its work on this front. The NCAA has already moved various tournament games out of the state—inciting recent strong words from legendary hoops coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams—and is set to decide on more championship sites through 2022. The Associated Press says the state “could lose hundreds of millions more.”

That NCAA boycott needs to remain in place because, even after this week’s window dressing in the North Carolina legislature, the discrimination remains in place.