The “religious freedom” train ran off the rails on Jones Street yesterday. House Republicans realized the state would lose business and some of them would lose elections.
It was a telling turnaround for a body that had pushed through a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages just a few years back. If you ever doubted how fast and how far public opinion has moved on this issue, doubt no more.
Apparently, great credit goes to Republican lobbyists and Republican-leaning business leaders who stood up for what’s right, as well as what’s right for the bottom line.
The bottom line for the politicians, of course, was their own survival. Rep. Gary Pendleton of Wake County, a former sponsor of the bill, made clear why he had to abruptly abandon his principles: “This bill will cause at least four members to be defeated, including me.”
Now we’re talking about what really matters!
Of course, this won’t end the legislature’s obsession with regulating how people live and love. An anti-abortion bill swept through the House the same day. The debate was made memorable by one opponent’s searing personal story and one sponsor’s explanation that it’s just like requiring a waiting period for real estate transactions.
Well, that’s one way to look at it.
And the legislature will no doubt find another way to let magistrates who so choose choose not to carry out the laws they are sworn to carry out.
For a few hours, Democrats worried that they wouldn’t be able to keep saying that Republicans care more about regulating your personal life than about rebuilding the economy from the Bush Recession.
Not to worry.