North Carolina Republicans issue bizarre statement that puts repeal of ‘bathroom law’ in jeopardy

North Carolina Republicans issued a contentious statement early Wednesday morning signalling that the repeal of the state’s contentious “bathroom law” may be in jeopardy.

The law, known as House Bill 2, limits LGBT rights across the state. It mandates transgender residents use the public bathrooms that correspond with their biological sex rather than their gender identity. 

Republicans crafted the law in March to override a non-discrimination ordinance that protected LGBT residents in Charlotte, the state’s most populous city.

On Monday, Charlotte’s city council announced it had overturned its local ordinance, in an apparent deal with state Republicans to repeal House Bill 2. However, local media reported late Tuesday night that Charlotte had only repealed select parts of the non-discrimination ordinance, drawing the ire of lawmakers who charged Charlotte didn’t keep its word.

In a strongly worded statement released at 1 a.m. Wednesday, North Carolina’s Republican Party accused the Charlotte council and Governor-elect Roy Cooper, a Democrat, of lying about fulfilling their end of the bargain.

“Roy Cooper and Charlotte City Council Democrats lied directly to the people of North Carolina, the Legislature, and Gov. McCrory about repealing the Charlotte City Council ordinance that caused HB2,” the statement read. “They and they alone created this problem and have now seriously harmed HB2 repeal efforts.”

“The HB2 blood is now stain soaked on their hands and theirs alone. What a dishonest, disgraceful shame by Roy Cooper and Charlotte Democrats,” it added.

The statement elicited a confused response from Twitter users, who noted its multiple typographic errors, including a reference to “Rory Cooper.”

Charlotte officials defended their partial repeal of the local ordinance, claiming they removed the specific sections to which state lawmakers had objected.

“The City Council acted in good faith to do everything that it understood was necessary to facilitate the repeal of HB2,” the city said in a statement.

Later on Wednesday, an hour before state lawmakers gathered in Raleigh to decide the fate of HB2, the Charlotte council voted to repeal its local ordinance in its entirety.

Still, some state Republicans continue to oppose a repeal of HB2. With Republicans holding a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly, Democrats will need bipartisan support to overturn the law.

Crafted in a one-day special session in March, HB2 led several businesses to withdraw expansions in North Carolina, costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Numerous entertainers cancelled events in the state, and the NBA, NCAA, and ACC relocated major sports events since the law’s passage.

The law has been staunchly defended by Gov. Pat McCrory and state Republicans, who claimed the bathroom provision protects women from sexual predators. McCrory’s defence of the law is thought to have contributed to his narrow loss to Cooper in November’s election.

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