LGBT groups urge North Carolina not to compromise on bathroom bill repeal
North Carolina has been urged not to compromise on a deal to repeal its widely condemned bathroom bill HB2.
Efforts to repeal the bill, which banned trans people from using gender-appropriate bathrooms as well as rolling back local LGBT+ ordinances, failed on Tuesday evening.
And as rumours swirl of what could be the next steps for the state, and a deadline by the North Carolina Athletics Association to repeal the law or lose years of athletics events, LGBT+ groups say that lawmakers in the state can’t compromise on a repeal.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality North Carolina urged North Carolina lawmakers to reject a backroom deal that would both continue the harms of the discriminatory HB2 law and push the possibility of full repeal further out of reach.
The most recent proposal would prohibit cities from passing protections ensuring that trans people are able to access facilities in accordance with their gender identity, and it would further prohibit municipalities from passing other LGBTQ non-discrimination protections through 2020.
The organisations accuse Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore of blocking a repeal of HB2.
“The rumored HB2 ‘deal’ does nothing more than double-down on discrimination and would ensure North Carolina remains the worst state in the nation for LGBTQ people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“The consequences of this hateful law will only continue without full repeal of HB2. Sellouts cave under pressure. Leaders fight for what’s right.”
The NCAA’s deadline for North Carolina to repeal its anti-LGBT+ ‘bathroom bill’ or lose sporting events until 2022 is looming.
Officials from the NCAA already warned that the state could lose its opportunity to host championship games over HB2, which targets trans people.
But the state could now lose 133 championship-level events its institutions are currently bidding for over a period of six years.
The NCAA appeared last week to have given the state a deadline to repeal the law.
“As the state knows, next week our various sports committees will begin making championships site selections for 2018-2022,” the NCAA said in a statement.
“Once the sites are selected … those decisions are final.”
The selections will be announced by the NCAA on 18 April.
“Absent any change in the law, our position remains the same regarding hosting current or future events in the state,” the statement added.
But according to Scott Dupree, executive director for the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, a “contact very close to the NCAA” confirmed that the deadline is Thursday this week.
“If HB 2 has not been resolved by that time, the NCAA will have no choice but to move forward without the North Carolina bids,” Dupree added, on Twitter.
Asked about the claim, the NCAA pointed to last week’s statement on the issue.
The North Carolina Sporting Association earlier this year warned that the state was “on the brink of losing all NCAA Championship events for six consecutive years”, over HB2.
“Our contacts at the NCAA tell us that, due to their stance on HB2, all North Carolina bids will be pulled from the review process and removed from consideration,” reads the leaked letter published by the News & Observer.
“At that point, we will be faced with a six-year drought of NCAA championships in North Carolina.”
North Carolina lost a string of big investment ventures in 2016 over former Republican 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 insisted the anti-trans rules were “common sense”, but the state has faced a string of lawsuits as human rights groups believe HB2 to be a clear violation of the US Constitution.
But efforts to repeal the law failed in December, despite a deal being struck to repeal the law, if the city of Charlotte withdrew its pro-LGBT law.
Republicans in the state also stoked fury by draining $500,000 from the Disaster Relief Fund, to cover legal costs of defending the law.
The NCAA in September joined a growing boycott of the state, following the NBA’s decision to move its All Star Game out of the state.
A statement last year said: “Based on the NCAA’s commitment to fairness and inclusion, the Association will relocate all seven previously awarded championship events from North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year. The NCAA Board of Governors made this decision because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.”
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The board “emphasised that NCAA championships and events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.”
“The NCAA Constitution clearly states our values of inclusion and gender equity, along with the membership’s expectation that we as the Board of Governors protect those values for all,” said Susquehanna University President Jay Lemons, vice chair of the Board of Governors and chair of the ad hoc committee on diversity and inclusion.
“Our membership comprises many different types of schools – public, private, secular, faith-based – and we believe this action appropriately reflects the collective will of that diverse group.”
“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president.
“We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships.”
President Trump has previously expressed his support for McCrory on the issue.