Last week, Americans United's Samantha Sokol wrote that discrimination doesn't win in North Carolina. Now, after Governor Pat McCrory's defeat in the state's gubernatorial race and the release of a report by Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina regarding voters' views on HB 2, this verdict is proven by the numbers.
According to the report, HB 2, a law spearheaded by McCrory that sanctions discrimination against transgender people, stood out as the overwhelming reason for McCrory's defeat. 57 percent of North Carolina voters identified the law as the most important reason to oppose McCrory’s re-election, and 62 percent of voters described the law as an important factor in their decision about who to vote for. A separate exit poll conducted by ABCNews on November 8 offers a similar result, showing that 66 percent of North Carolina voters opposed HB 2.
In addition to the North Carolina survey, HRC and Equality North Carolina also commissioned a nationwide poll of 1,100 voters to gauge America's attitude towards marriage equality and LGBTQ discrimination. The survey found that 61 percent of Americans support marriage equality in 2016, up from 50 percent just four years earlier. Also, they found that 69 percent of voters support amending federal civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ people—which would prohibit the kind of discrimination sanctioned in state laws like HB 2.
According to the numbers, American voters will not stand for legalized discrimination against the LGBTQ community. The results of this survey should act as a warning to legislators who plan to introduce bills in the 2017 legislative session that harm LGBTQ folks and others, including so-called "religious freedom" bills that use religion as their excuse to sanction discrimination. These legislators should remember that religious freedom gives us the right to believe or not as we see fit, but it does not give us the right to harm or discriminate against others. But if they don't get the message, we'll be there to remind them: discrimination didn’t win in North Carolina, and it won’t win in their state either.