North Carolina Rep. Bill Richardson was one of the 11 Democrats to vote for his state’s anti-LGBT hate law. In an op-ed published today, Richardson says he is “haunted” by his vote and will now work for the law’s repeal. He writes:
By enacting House Bill 2, the legislature did the wrong thing. I made the wrong vote and we must now make it right.
My parents raised me to avoid any rush to judgment and to consider the consequences of my decisions. They stressed to me that I will make mistakes but, when made, never, never compound a mistake by sitting silent and failing to own up to the error.
Upon prayer and reflection, I have come to realize that I need to take action now. I will not be silent and allow North Carolina’s values to be undermined by the travesty that is HB2.
As a lawyer, I have stood with the defenseless because our Constitution says – actually demands – that all Americans have basic rights and, by protecting those rights, we can all truly share in the blessings of being an American.
Since our hasty vote on HB2, I have been haunted by the fact that in one rushed action, I undermined a lifetime of fighting against those who would demonize a group of citizens to gain political advantage and to advance an unjust agenda.
Instead of recognizing the right to be free of discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation, HB2 gives green light to this discrimination in housing, employment and other areas. To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, we must never make any group of citizens a stranger to the laws of their own state.
Richardson first served a single term in the North Carolina House from 1992-1996. In October he was appointed to his current seat by the Cumberland County Democratic Party to replace a longtime rep who stepped down to work for the liberal NC Justice Center.