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Lawmaker Behind HB 2: LGBT Movement Is Like Taliban, 'Jeopardizes Freedom'

Rep. Dan Bishop

Those are just a few of the comments revealed in North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop's emails.

The author of North Carolina's House Bill 2 has likened LGBT activists to the Taliban and called them a threat to freedom, according to emails obtained by the Charlotte Business Journal.

The publication obtained 152 emails supplied voluntarily by Republican Rep. Dan Bishop, the chief architect of the anti-LGBT law in response to a public records request by the Business Journal, which is seeking to have more released. The emails it did obtain, the subject of a story published Thursday, show Bishop defending the law and often citing his religious beliefs in doing so.

There were several exchanges with constituents, some thanking him for his work in crafting the law, others denouncing him. HB 2, introduced, passed, and signed into law in one day, March 23, nullifies any LGBT-inclusive municipal antidiscrimination ordinances in the state and prevents cities from passing new ones. It also bars transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and other single-sex facilities that match their gender identity, when those facilities are located in government buildings. The law has brought backlash from businesses, entertainers, and more; it is the subject of a lawsuits by the American Civil Liberties Union and the federal government as well as legislative repeal efforts.

One constituent thanked Bishop and other supporters of HB 2 and urged them to resist pressure to repeal it, the Business Journal reports. The writer implored them not to "cave in to the Politically Correct Taliban! Y'all should have all of the sane states to coordinate and pass these bills on the same day so one state does not have to stand up to these pompous asses alone." Bishop replied, "I LOVE that idea. Taliban. Love that too. Not giving up. Ever."

In a response to another constituent who praised HB 2, Bishop asserted, "The LGBT movement jeopardizes freedom."

Bishop's religion-based comments include "I don't fear man. I fear God. So I won't be backing down" and "I stepped in front of the train quite deliberately, but the beating is every bit as bad as I expected, and then some. I need the Lord's help and your prayers."

The emails indicate, though, that not all people of faith support HB 2. Russ Dean, co-pastor of Charlotte's Park Road Baptist Church -- a progressive congregation not affiliated with the anti-LGBT Southern Baptist Convention -- denounced the law's "bigotry" and said it had damaged North Carolina's reputation. He also objected to the cost of the special session in which it was passed; lawmakers called the session in order to keep an LGBT-inclusive public accommodations ordinance from going into effect in Charlotte. Bishop responded by asserting the state's legal right to override the actions of city governments.

Meanwhile, Judith Welch Wegner, a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reminded Bishop that she had once taught him, in an email with the subject line "disowning you as a student." Bishop did not reply, the Business Journal reports, but forwarded the email with the comment "on official email account no less."

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