North Carolina fails to repeal anti-LGBT bathroom bill HB2
After hours of meetings and secret debates, plans to repeal North Carolina’s anti-LGBT HB2 failed on Wednesday.
A special session was held to repeal HB2, which has seen the state face boycotts from businesses, sporting evens and musicians, as well as huge protests as it limits the rights of transgender people.
During the debate on Wednesday, a bill which would have repealed the law was introduced, but it included a moratorium which would have included a six-month-or-longer period during which local ordinances could not be passed around employment practices, public accommodations or bathroom access.
Republicans introduced the moratorium to stop the city of Charlotte, which introduced a law protecting transgender rights, from re-introducing its measure which was rolled back by HB2.
Charlotte had agreed to repeal its local ordinance as part of negotiations to hold the session to repeal HB2.
But LGBT rights supporters and Democrats rejected the moratorium, saying it limited local authorities’ rights to protect people.
A Democrat in Charlotte, Senator Jeff Jackson, said: This wasn’t the deal. This bill breaks this deal. Charlotte would have not repealed its ordinance if this was the deal.”
Republican legislators in the state say they still support HB2, and lieutenant Governor Dan Forest urged those who want the law to remain to “continue to stand strong.”
He said: “I support HB2 and do not favor its repeal… No economic, political or ideological pressure can convince me that what is wrong is right. It will always be wrong for men to have access to women’s showers and bathrooms.
“With certainty, if HB2 is repealed, we will fight this battle all over again with another city or county. The names will change, but the national groups who are pushing this agenda will not stop until their social engineering is accomplished.”
“Today, the public trust has been betrayed once again. Lawmakers sent a clear message: North Carolina remains closed for business,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “It’s been 273 days since Republican state lawmakers passed the hateful HB2 law, and they have resisted fixing the mess they created every step of the way. Even after Charlotte responded to the GOP leadership’s loathsome demand to repeal common sense protections that exist in more than 100 cities, Senator Berger and Speaker Moore failed to make good on the ‘deal’ they brokered with Governor-elect Cooper to fully repeal HB2. Their shameful actions and broken promises subject LGBTQ North Carolinians to state-mandated discrimination, contribute to a heightened environment of harassment and violence, and will continue the significant harm done to the state’s reputation and economy. It’s clear today that the GOP leadership’s cruelty towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and particularly transgender North Carolinians knows no bounds. For our part, we will continue to fight to defeat all of HB2 and protect North Carolinians no matter what it takes.”
“For 273 long days, HB2 has put LGBTQ North Carolinians at risk for discrimination and violence. Every single day, we have lost businesses, new residents, tourists, concerts, and sporting events,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “Today’s failure to repeal HB2 is a blow to not just the LGBTQ community but to the entire state of North Carolina. With HB2 still on the books and the Charlotte Ordinance fully repealed we will only continue to lose businesses and put LGBTQ North Carolinians in harms way. The North Carolina General Assembly Leadership has made clear today that North Carolina remains closed for business.”
“The North Carolina General Assembly is a national disgrace,” said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. “In March, North Carolina lawmakers passed HB2. Last week, they made a shocking move to wrest power from Governor-elect Roy Cooper before he even took office. Today, they claimed they would repeal HB 2. As we have come to expect from these dishonest and underhanded extremist lawmakers, however, were not planning on repealing it in full. The repeal bill included a portion that bans cities in North Carolina from passing their own nondiscrimination laws for, at least, six months.This is unacceptable. The legislature’s actions today have proven that the people of North Carolina—particularly transgender North Carolinians—cannot have any faith in their shameless lawmakers. We continue to stand with the people of North Carolina, particularly the transgender people who have been harmed by HB2 and their own lawmakers’ actions, and we will continue to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with them until this shameful legislation is repealed in its entirety.”
HB2, which is also known as the Bathroom Bill, limits local governments from introducing non-discrimination ordinances to protect LGBT people. It also forces trans people to use bathrooms that correspond with gender on their birth certificate.
Outgoing Governor Pat McCrory said that the impact of HB2 was the fault of progressives and groups like the Human Rights Campaign.
“The left brought this issue up, not the right,” he said in the debate.
Without the bathroom directive passed in Charlotte, “I don’t think we would have had any problems because I don’t believe in any type of discrimination”.
The Federal Government is currently suing North Carolina over HB2, but a countersuit launched by the state was dropped earlier this year.
A number of other states have banned their employees from travelling there while HB2 is in effect.
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McCrory added that he would be willing to introduce legislation preventing employment discrimination for LGBT people, but only if opponents to the Bathroom Bill agreed to continue to prevent trans people from using facilities that match their gender identity.
Cooper has continually hit out at HB2 and in his role as Attorney General and has refused to defend it in court.
He also promised that if he was elected, he would work to repeal the bill as soon as possible.
North Carolina has suffered national condemnation for being the first state to introduce anti-LGBT legislation.
Already, a number of entertainers and major sports events have withdrawn from the state.
Recently a newspaper that has supported McCrory for quarter of a century refused to endorse him over HB2.