A North Carolina Republican lawmaker who voted for the state’s anti-LGBT law has broken ranks to say it was a mistake and should be repealed once and for all.
North Carolina has lost a string of big investment ventures over Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign the contentious HB 2 – which voided all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, banned transgender people from using their preferred bathroom, and permits businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.
McCrory continues to insist the rules are “common sense”, but a string of major employers are boycotting the state over the attack on the rights of their LGBT employees.
After the NCAA moved a number of sporting events out of the state this week, a Republican lawmaker who voted in favour of HB 2 has come out to call for it to be repealed.
State Senator Tamara Barringer voted along party lined in favour of the law last year, but now insists: “If we want to preserve the proud heritage of North Carolina, it is time for our leadership to consider a substantial and immediate repeal of HB2.”
Senator Barringer told WRAL News: “I did not realise the consequences of this bill, that it would have worldwide consequences, and they just keep piling up.
“So, at this point, I’m willing to stand up and say, ‘Let’s put the brakes on it. Let’s get together and find a common solution that we call can live with and move forward’.”
She cited the “unintended consequences” of the bill in losing business ventures and events in the state.
Ms Barringer is the only state Republican lawmaker so far to publicly change her stance, since the boycott began.
The GOP politician added: “It’s reflecting wrong on the people of North Carolina. We are a people that have been together.
“We’re a people of innovation. We’re a people of inclusivity, not exclusivity. It’s giving the world, it’s giving the rest of the country, the wrong idea about North Carolina.”
However, her Democratic opponents say the U-turn is a desperate move amid a close re-election battle with a pro-LGBT challenger.
A spokesperson for Democratic challenger Susan Evans said: “When she voted for HB2 in March, Sen. Barringer knew what she was doing
“She knew the legal and economic consequences her constituents would experience. Only now that she’s in danger of losing her seat does she waffle.
“Her latest change of mind is certainly not a change of heart. It’s a purely political move designed to make voters forget that she is responsible for the loss of jobs and millions of dollars in economic investment in her district.”