Opponents of North Carolina's HB2 law limiting bathroom access for transgender people protest in the gallery above the state's House of Representatives chamber as the Legislature considers repealing the controversial law in Raleigh, N.C., on Dec. 21, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Jonathan Drake

Repeal of N.C.’s ‘bathroom bill’ stumbles

(USA Today) A deal has fallen apart to undo the North Carolina law known as the "bathroom bill" in a sign of the state's bitter political divide.

The state's Legislature was called into a special session Wednesday (Dec. 21) to consider repealing the law known as HB2 after months of pressure, including lost jobs and canceled sporting events and concerts.

The North Carolina Senate rejects a bid to repeal a controversial transgender bathroom law by a vote of 32-16. Reuters video

The latest special session was called by Gov. Pat McCrory after Charlotte gutted a local nondiscrimination ordinance that Republicans had blamed for necessitating the statewide law.

After the session, McCrory said in a statement that the interest in a repeal was a "manufactured political issue that strategically targeted the city of Charlotte and our state by well-funded left-wing interest groups."

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"As I've stated multiple times," he added, "the balance between privacy and equality is not just a North Carolina issue, it is a national issue that will be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court in the near future."

Among other things, HB2 requires transgender people in many public buildings to use restrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificate.

Here's what led to where we are now.

What sparked it?

In February, the Charlotte City Council approved an ordinance revising the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, expanding protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity and allowing people to use restrooms of the sex by which they identify.

That drew the ire of McCrory, once Charlotte’s mayor, who warned such leniency was a threat to public safety. He also hinted at state legislative action.


RELATED STORY: The real meaning of transgender bathrooms


In March, the state’s House and Senate passed the bill in a special session. Just hours later, McCrory signed the bill, which overturned Charlotte's expansions.

The fallout

The bill’s passage stoked protests in North Carolina and the disapproval of various companies and celebrities. It also resulted in two federal lawsuits.

Google, Apple and Microsoft came out against the bill, as did the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. The NBA moved its All-Star game from Charlotte to New Orleans over the law and various musicians canceled North Carolina performances, including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Boston, Pearl Jam, Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato.

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The U.S. Justice Department found the law discriminates against transgender people. The federal government and North Carolina later sued each other over the issue.

The issue inserted itself into the state's gubernatorial race. Democratic challenger Roy Cooper attacked McCrory for the bill. Cooper, the state's attorney general, eventually unseated McCrory.

What's happened now?

The Legislature reconvened Wednesday morning to consider repealing the law after the Charlotte City Council’s decision to revoke part of its anti-discrimination ordinance.

In a statement after the vote, the city cited the “ongoing negative economic impact” resulting from the ordinance and House Bill 2.

The move prompted McCrory, who had promised to reconsider the bill if Charlotte reversed course, to call the special session Wednesday.

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