North Carolina voted to repeal its controversial “bathroom law” on Thursday, in a compromise that saw bipartisan support but angered LGBT advocates who claim the deal doesn’t go far enough to stop discrimination.
The deal, engineered by North Carolina’s Republican leadership and supported by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, passed 32-16 in the state Senate and 70-48 in the state House.
It will erase the law known as HB2, which restricts the ability of local governments to protect LGBT people and bars transgender people from using the public bathrooms that align with their gender identity.
However, two other provisions of the bill prompted objections from some Democratic lawmakers — one that leaves all matters related to bathroom regulation to the state, and another that prevents local governments from enacting certain LGBT protections until the end of 2020.
The bill will now be sent to Cooper for him to sign. He expressed support for it late Wednesday night.
“It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” Cooper said.
But Cooper came under fire from LGBT-rights groups and some Democrats, who have maintained that anything less than a full repeal of HB2 with no strings attached amounts to state-sanctioned discrimination.
“This new law does not repeal HB2,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement on Thursday.
“Instead, it institutes a statewide prohibition on equality by banning non-discrimination protections across North Carolina and fuels the flames of anti-transgender hate,” he added. “Each and every lawmaker who supported this bill has betrayed the LGBTQ community.”
Legislators were under fierce public pressure to repeal HB2 since Tuesday, when the NCAA imposed an ultimatum on the state: Repeal the law within 48 hours, or miss out on the chance to host 133 championship sports events over the next five years.
HB2 has already cost the Tar Heel State an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars since it was passed just over one year ago. Earlier this week, an Associated Press analysis pegged the law’s economic impact as nearly $US4 billion over the next 12 years — a combination of money lost from frozen business expansions, canceled concerts, relocated sporting events, and boycotts.
This story is developing.