Forget the bathroom war —  anti-gay Islamic extremists are the real threat
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In April of 2016, former South Carolina Governor, and current United Nations Ambassador, Nikki Haley (R) said this about whether her state needed to pass legislation similar to North Carolina’s HB2,

“I don’t believe it’s necessary…. When we look at our situation, we’re not hearing of anybody’s religious liberties that are being violated, and we’re again not hearing any citizens that are being violated in terms of freedoms.”

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Almost a year later, as the bathroom wars wage on, Haley’s words ring even truer. And as we watch this farce play out, a real — and deadly — threat to the lives of LGBT people across the globe, the threat of Islamic extremism, continues to grow.

 

The genesis of the bathroom wars was the passage, by the Democratically-controlled Charlotte, North Carolina City Council, of legislation expanding the city’s non-discrimination policy to include LGBT people.

Also included in the legislation was a controversial provision that gave transgendered residents of the city the right to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with regardless of their actual physical gender.

The provision had been so controversial that its inclusion had caused the legislation to fail just a year before, and members of the North Carolina legislature and the Governor himself urged the Charlotte city council not to include it.

The Democratic-controlled city council included the controversial provision because they wanted a war. They banked on the Republican-controlled legislature in North Carolina overreaching in their response — and that’s exactly what happened.

In March of 2016, Republicans in the North Carolina legislature took the bait and passed HB2. As expected, and at the urging of social conservatives, the legislature did more than simply nullify the controversial provision — they instead chose to create their own statewide bathroom law barring transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. Even worse, they further nullified all city ordinances, across the entire state, that granted protections to LGBT individuals.

It was the over-reach the left had been hoping for.

After being on the losing end of the culture war for decades, the left in this country finds itself increasingly on the offensive – now that public opinion has changed on issues like LGBT acceptance and equality.

As the prevailing winds have changed, the same people on the left who rightfully told us how immoral it was to use LGBT people as political pawns now gleefully do the same.

This new bathroom front in the culture wars comes at a devastating cost to the economy, the taxpayers and the families of North Carolina.

After passage of HB2, the NCAA and the ACC announced they would move their college championship events out of the state. The NBA announced it was moving its previously scheduled All Star game from Charlotte to New Orleans.

Dozens of businesses — from PayPal to Deutsche Bank — announced they were cancelling expansions in the state. In the first few months after HB2’s passage, it was estimated the state lost nearly $400 million. A recent Associated Press estimate put the total losses for North Carolina’s economy — if HB2 isn’t repealed — at a staggering $3.76 billion.

Predictably, the bathroom wars haven’t been contained to just North Carolina. The Charlotte City Council’s actions and the North Carolina legislature’s response have sparked similar battles across the country.

While the faux battle over bathrooms rages on, a real war on the lives of LGBT people is being waged by Islamic extremists who have pledged the global elimination of LGBT people. Just this week, ISIS released photos of extremists in the Iraqi city of Mosul throwing a gay man to his death from the top of a building in the city.

Horrifically, the incident is not an isolated one.

Testifying before a United Nations meeting in August of 2015, Subhi Nahas, a 28-year Syrian refugee, said, “In the Islamic State, gays are being tracked and killed all the time…. At the executions, hundreds of townspeople, including children, cheered jubilantly as [if] at a wedding.”

And that kind of violence, as we know all too well after the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, is not simply happening in territory controlled by ISIS.

It is time that LGBT people stop being used as political pawns, it is time that we end the farcical bathroom wars and, most importantly, it is time to focus on the real threats to the lives of LGBT people worldwide.

Christopher R. Barron is a conservative strategist, the former co-founder of the LGBT conservative group GOProud and the organizer of LGBT for Trump. Christopher can be found on twitter @ChrisRBarron


The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.