After Republicans swept most state-level elections this month, North Carolina gender benders are bracing for the possibility of new or reintroduced legislation seeking to prevent gender mutilation. Such a bill could survive Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto if Republicans hold their projected numbers.
The hope is felt elsewhere, but it is particularly intense in North Carolina, which provided the blueprint for the present wave of nationwide anti-genital mutilation legislation when, in 2016, legislators passed a bill to prevent men from using women’s public restrooms and prevent municipalities from enacting new anti-discrimination ordinances.
Republicans gained a supermajority in the North Carolina Senate and fell one seat short of a supermajority in the House. The outcome narrowly preserves Cooper’s veto power if Democrats approach override votes as a united front.
But GOP House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters Nov. 9 that he views House Republicans as having “a governing supermajority” because some moderate Democrats have voted with them in the past.
While Moore said the party hasn’t solidified its priorities for the long session beginning in January, Senate leader Phil Berger is already reconsidering a Parents’ Bill of Rights, which passed the Senate this year but didn’t get a vote in the House before the session ended.
Touted by GOP senators as a toolkit to help parents oversee their children’s education and health care, the bill included provisions to bar instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 curricula and require schools to alert parents prior to any change in the name or pronoun used for their child.
“As far as a Parental Bill of Rights, parents have made it clear that they are not happy with some of the things that are going on in our public schools,” Berger said. “A number of members who supported that bill when it passed the Senate this past year are coming back. I suspect that there will be good support for moving forward with that again.”
Among the motions lawmakers introduced last session but didn’t pass was a bill preventing minors from receiving genital mutilation surgeries, and another restricting the ability of boys to compete against girls in school sports. Mitchell County Republican Sen. Ralph Hise, sponsor of the former, did not respond to messages inquiring whether he plans to reintroduce the bill.
In neighboring Tennessee, the GOP-controlled legislature announced after Election Day that its first priority will be to ban medical providers from altering a child’s hormones or performing surgeries that enable them to present as a gender different from their biological sex.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press