North Carolina governor signs repeal of ‘bathroom bill’
April 01, 2017
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday signed a repeal of the bathroom access law that had spawned a nearly yearlong boycott against the state, but LGBT rights advocates criticized the new measure as being just as discriminatory as the law it replaced.
Still, North Carolina Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland said he will begin calling companies and organizations that have avoided the state because of its “bathroom bill.”
As part of a compromise between the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and its Democrat governor, the General Assembly delivered the repeal, called House Bill 142, to Cooper’s desk in an expedited effort Thursday.
“It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” Cooper said Wednesday about the legislation.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union and gay and transgender activists have complained that the new law still denies them certain protections from discrimination.
House Bill 142 replaces HB2, which regulated intimate public facilities on the basis of biological sex, but leaves the regulation of public, multiple-occupancy restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities to the state.
The legislation also prohibits local governments from enacting nondiscrimination ordinances regulating private employment practices or public accommodations until 2020.
The repeal did not pass along party lines in the House and Senate.
The upper chamber approved the measure 32-16 and was supported by Senate President Phil Berger, a Republican, and Senate Democrat Leader Dan Blue.
The House passed the bill 70-48 and was endorsed by House Democrat Leader Darren Jackson and House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican.
Berger and Moore, the Republican leaders, said the new legislation still protects the privacy rights of women and children in public restrooms, locker rooms and showers.
“We believe the four points in Gov. Cooper’s compromise proposal represent a path forward by repealing House Bill 2, protecting citizens’ privacy in bathrooms and changing rooms, authorizing local governments to adopt anti-discrimination ordinances consistent with federal law, and providing legal protections for violations of constitutional rights of conscience,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.
The gay rights movement vehemently opposes the compromise, saying it does not go far enough to repeal HB2.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which spearheaded the boycott in North Carolina over the bathroom bill, said the compromise legislation “does not repeal HB2.”
“Instead, it institutes a statewide prohibition on equality by banning nondiscrimination protections across North Carolina and fuels the flames of anti-transgender hate,” Griffin said. “Each and every lawmaker who supported this bill has betrayed the LGBTQ community.”
NCAA officials said they plan to review the repeal before deciding on whether to bring championship games back to North Carolina.
NCAA President Mark Emmert told reporters Thursday that the association’s board of governors will have to discuss the new legislation before deciding whether they’re comfortable hosting neutral-site championships in the state again. He said that process could take several days or more.
Griffin, meanwhile, encouraged companies to continue to boycott North Carolina.
“HRC will explore every legal action to combat this dangerous legislation, and we urge all businesses, sports leagues and entertainers who have fought against HB2 to continue standing strong with the LGBTQ community attacked by this hateful law,” the gay rights activist said.
And groups that support gay rights, including the Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Transgender Equality and Equality NC, called on the NCAA to make good on its promise to pull championship games out of the state.
“We call on the NCAA to oppose this shameful HB2.0 bill in North Carolina, and not to reward lawmakers who have passed this so-called ‘deal’ which is an affront to the values we all hold,” the group said in a statement. “This bill is anti-worker, anti-access to the courts, and anti-LGBTQ. It violates all basic principles of diversity, inclusion and basic civil rights.”
John Rustin, president of NC Family, said politicians should not have been “swayed by the bully tactics of organizations like the NCAA, who seem intent on using their national standing to push a radical social agenda.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, criticized the compromise bill’s proponents for bowing to corporate pressure.
“While this measure does not lead to the violation of the privacy of women and children by allowing the dangerous policies like Charlotte’s to be re-established, it does signal that elected officials are ultimately willing to surrender to the courts and the NCAA on matters of safety and public policy,” Perkins said in a statement.
He said the compromise will not prevent the progressive movement from trying to implement its agenda.
“LGBT groups’ fierce opposition to this compromise is very telling. For the Left, the only compromise they will accept is our total surrender.”