North Carolina Poised to Repeal Anti-LGBTQ "Bathroom Bill"

"LGBTQ rights aren't a bargaining chip." (Photo: Pilar Timpane/flickr/cc)

North Carolina Poised to Repeal Anti-LGBTQ "Bathroom Bill"

HB2 prompted a grassroots boycott of North Carolina, costing the state millions of dollars in corporate investments, as well as thousands of jobs

North Carolina lawmakers are poised to repeal the anti-LGBTQ "bathroom bill," the state's incoming Democratic governor said Monday.

Governor-elect Roy Cooper said a special legislative assembly will convene Tuesday to address the bill, known as HB2, which requires transgender people to use public facilities that correspond to their biological sex, rather than their gender identity. The bill also prohibits municipalities from creating nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people at the local level.

It comes in response to a surprise move by the Charlotte City Council to rescind a non-discrimination ordinance with the ultimatum that the state legislature repeals HB2 by December 31.

"Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore assured me that as a result of Charlotte's vote, a special session will be called for Tuesday to repeal HB2 in full," Cooper said Monday. "I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full."

HB2, signed into law in March by Republican Governor Pat McCrory, prompted a grassroots boycott of North Carolina, costing the state millions of dollars in corporate investments, as well as thousands of jobs, according to some estimates.

"HB2 was an unprecedented attack on the LGBT community, in particular against transgender people, and we are encouraged that its days are numbered," Sarah Gillooly, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina, said in response to Charlotte's decision. "It is imperative that the General Assembly hold up their end of the deal and repeal HB2 in full without delay. This will be an important step for North Carolinians to move forward, but it never should have come at the cost of protections for LGBTQ people living in Charlotte."

In a previous blow to the law, a federal judge in August ruled that the state could not block transgender students and a staff member at the University of North Carolina from using the facilities that correspond with their gender.

Democratic State Rep. Chris Sgro, who is also president of Equality N.C., told the Charlotte Observer on Monday that the General Assembly should repeal the bill without the city having to rescind its ordinance.

"I firmly believe that Roy Cooper, [Charlotte Mayor] Jennifer Roberts, and the majority of city council are committed to winning the full complement (of rights) for LGBT people both in Charlotte and across the state," he said. "All eyes...are on Raleigh watching for the General Assembly to do the right thing."

Simone Bell, the southern regional director for Lambda Legal, also said, "LGBTQ rights aren't a bargaining chip. Charlotte shouldn't have had to repeal its ordinance in exchange for HB2 to be repealed. LGBTQ people in North Carolina still need protection from discrimination."

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