DOBSON — Surry County won’t be bowing to the Obama administration anytime soon, say county commissioners.
At Monday’s meeting of the county Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Larry Phillips relayed his concerns regarding a directive issued by President Barack Obama on Friday.
The order states all public schools must allow students to use the restroom, locker room or other facility which coincides with the gender with which a person identifies, or face the loss of federal funding.
Phillips said concerns “stem from the Feb. 22 ordinance passed by Charlotte City Council.”
“Passed under the deceptive premise of non-discrimination, the ordinance is nothing more than an attempt to force an extreme radical left-wing agenda upon North Carolina residents and private businesses.”
He said when the White House issued its directive, Obama made the issue Surry County’s business.
“The president brought this debate and fight directly to Surry County,” said Phillips. “To my knowledge, at this point, our superintendents are committed to following state law — whatever that law ends up being.”
“Currently, our school systems permit a transgender student to use faculty or health restrooms. Friday’s directive, however, dismisses that current practice and forces our students to share restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities on the basis of gender identity.”
Like Gov. Pat McCrory and many other Republicans, Phillips called the bathroom accommodations an opportunity for sexual predators “to prey upon our youth.”
The commissioner also said he had posted commentary on Facebook asking parents to call their child’s principal to express their concerns. He said more than 15,000 people had viewed the post, and many — both Democrats and Republicans — had expressed their discontent with the Obama administration’s stance.
Phillips offered a strongly worded resolution, proclaiming the county’s support of McCrory and the legislature for passing HB2. It was passed unanimously, and copies will be sent to the governor, legislature and the other 99 county boards in the state.
“I’ll hit the reply-to-all button on this,” remarked Commissioner Van Tucker. “Every once in a while we have the opportunity to stand up for what is right.”
North Carolina is entrenched in a fight with the Obama administration after state lawmakers passed House Bill 2, a controversial piece of legislation setting standards for public facilities in the state in April. Obama’s Justice Department issued a decree stating the law fails to ensure protections for transgender students under Titles VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act.
The state and the U.S. Justice Department have filed lawsuits in the matter. However, the Obama administration has stated it will not pull federal funding to the state’s public schools or universities until the matter is decided in court. More than $4.5 billion in federal funding is at risk.
After HB2 was passed, multiple companies voiced their concerns regarding the law. One of the loudest was PayPal.
PayPal, a company which processes online payments, halted plans to expand its enterprise into North Carolina, a move which stripped Charlotte of more than 400 jobs which would have been created.
Phillips said the company has effectively issued a boycott of North Carolina. A move Phillips said should be countered by a North Carolina boycott of the company.
The commissioner confirmed the county uses PayPal in processing payments and is required to use it by some third-party vendors with which the county does business. Phillips said it will be a long process, but he wants to see the county end its relationship with the company.
He offered a motion, which was unanimously passed, to end any ties with the company.
“I’ve watched patiently thinking that since the national media has exposed PayPal for doing business with Middle Eastern countries that stone and behead homosexuals, all while boycotting North Carolina, they might reconsider their business relationship with our state,” said Phillips.
“However, PayPal in their selective hypocrisy, has doubled down on stupid.”
“Why would our local government continue to use the services of a business that boycotts our state — regardless of their reasoning?” asked Phillips.
Phillips’ talking points, the resolution and the PayPal actions drew applause from the crowd attending the meeting. The impassioned speech drew tears from Phillips.
Further coverage of Monday’s meeting will be available in future editions of The News.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.