LGBT Rights-North Carolina-NCAA,8th Ld-Writethru, US

North Carolina lawmakers reversed course Thursday and voted to repeal and replace a costly, contentious law that restricts transgender people's use of bathrooms, but rights activists warn the new measure fails to assure state-wide protections.

North Carolina repealed key components of its controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), which required transgender people use the bathroom that corresponded to the sex on their birth certificate.

The N.C. General Assembly on Thursday approved a compromise bill that repeals HB2 - which sports leagues and businesses alike described as discriminatory toward the LGBT community - but restricts anti-discrimination ordinances in cities and counties. "The new bill, HB2.0, still bars trans people from receiving any protection from discrimination in schools and government buildings when it comes to using restrooms and other facilities".

He said he would have preferred a law adding protections for LGBT North Carolinians, but admitted that would not be possible with Republicans holding a supermajority in both houses of the state legislature.

Local governments also couldn't pass ordinances extending nondiscrimination covering things like sexual orientation and gender identity until December 2020.

Pro-HB2 groups were opposed, having no concern about lost business or the damage to the state's image as long as their hard-right ideology was upheld.

"If we could have props in here, I would take a basketball covered in money and roll it down the middle aisle there, because that's what this is about, money and basketball", state Rep. Carl Ford, a Republican, said before voting no on the repeal.

Titled "An Act to Reset S.L. 2016-3", the compromise would repeal HB2 and S.L. 2016-99, which restored the right to sue for wrongful termination based on discrimination that HB2 initially removed.

One of the protesters, the Rev. Jimmy Creech, a longtime pro-LGBT activist, said the bill was just a repackaging of House Bill 2 and would still hurt gays, lesbian and bisexual and transgender people.

Democrat Roy Cooper, who eked out a win over former Republican Gov.

Cooper acknowledges that it's not a ideal deal and stops short of many things the state needs to do.

"If you vote for this bill you are not a friend of the LGBTQ community", Equality North Carolina executive director Chris Sgro told reporters Thursday morning.

"NC will become one of only a few states where protecting people's rights is illegal", Keisling posted. "This repeal is nothing but a replacement of the same discrimination of the original HB2", American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyer Chase Strangio said in a statement to ABC News. It also enacts a three-year ban on the creation of local nondiscrimination ordinances that regulate private employment practices and public accommodations, including bathrooms. "Instead, they're enforcing the worst aspects of the law", in a statement.

The announcement came as the NCAA said North Carolina sites won't be considered for championship events from 2018 to 2022 "absent any change" in House Bill 2, which it views as discrimination.

"This isn't a question about who's right", Cohen said.

The NCAA moved championship events, including the first and second rounds of this year's men's basketball tournament, out of North Carolina due to HB2. The conference has decisions to make on future sites soon as well and Commissioner John Swofford released a statement similar to Emmert's remarks earlier Thursday.

  • Larry Hoffman