BY BTL STAFF
Updated Dec. 21:
North Carolina legislators failed to repeal the state’s “bathroom bill” on Wednesday during a special session called for that purpose, CNN reported.
People in the gallery chanted “shame” as the gavel came down about 7:30 p.m. and lawmakers headed home. They’ll adjourn again Jan. 11 for a regular session of the General Assembly, at which time they might discuss repeal again.
For now, House Bill 2 stands as the law in North Carolina.
Signed by the governor in March, HB2 bans people from using public bathrooms that don’t correspond to their biological sex as listed on their birth certificates. Backlash against HB2 caused huge economic losses for the state, a point often mentioned as the repeal debate ebbed and flowed on Wednesday.
Both sides accused the other of operating in bad faith.
Senate Leader Phil Berger put a statement on his website blaming Gov.-elect Roy Cooper, a Democrat, and Senate Democrats.
“Their action proves they only wanted a repeal in order to force radical social engineering and shared bathrooms across North Carolina, at the expense of our state’s families, our reputation and our economy,” Berger said.
State Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Democrat, tweeted: “At the end of the day, Charlotte kept its word and the General Assembly GOP did not. #ncpol”
Updated Dec. 20:
After the Charlotte City Council voted unanimously on Monday to strike down a local ordinance that gave rise to the HB2, outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said he would call a special session of the state legislature on Wednesday to consider repealing the law.
McCrory – who conceded to Cooper earlier this month after a contentious election and lengthy recount – signed the law last March. Supporters argued that the law protects women and children from sexual offenders claiming transgender identity and using women’s facilities. Critics say the bill was an assault on LGBT rights.
House Bill 2 does not recognize gender identity and requires people to use bathrooms equal to the gender identity on their birth certificates in government-run buildings. The state legislature passed the law in response to Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance.
“Governor McCrory has always publicly advocated a repeal of the overreaching Charlotte ordinance. But those efforts were always blocked by Jennifer Roberts, Roy Cooper, and other Democratic activists,” the governor’s office said in a statement on Monday.
McCrory also blamed Democrats for the timing, saying HB2 opponents were seeking to score political points by pushing to repealing the bill now.
North Carolina legislators will repeal the contentious HB2 law that limited protections for LGBT people and led to an economic backlash, the state’s incoming governor told the Chicago Tribune Monday.
Gov.-elect Roy Cooper made the announcement shortly after the Charlotte City Council voted to repeal its own local ordinance enacted in early 2016. It was that ordinance that Republicans blamed for the statewide law.
“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 HB 2 in full. I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full,” the Democrat said in a statement.
The repeal would be a remarkable sign of cooperation for the incoming governor and the GOP-controlled legislature. Just last week, lawmakers called a special session and stripped Cooper of some of his authority when he takes office next month.
Spokesmen for Gov. Pat McCrory didn’t immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.
Media representatives for the state’s Republican legislative leaders also didn’t immediately respond.
The Charlotte council’s move is contingent on North Carolina legislators fully repealing HB2 by Dec. 31.
HB2 requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificate in many public buildings. It also excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from statewide anti-discrimination protections.
McCrory and lawmakers have defended the bathroom provisions as providing privacy and safety by keeping men out of women’s restrooms. Opponents of the law call it discriminatory.
Since HB2 passed in March, North Carolina has suffered a backlash that has included companies declining to expand in the state and cancellations of rock concerts. The NCAA and ACC have also moved college sports events out of the state.