With NCAA deadline looming, North Carolina votes to repeal HB2 'bathroom bill'

In separate votes on Thursday, the Senate, then the House approved the measure to repeal that law.

The new law would prevent local governments from passing new nondiscrimination protections for workplaces, hotels and restaurants until December 2020. And the NCAA had imposed a mid-day Thursday deadline for a satisfactory resolution to HB2 or the organization would not award North Carolina any events through 2022.

The law bans municipalities from putting in place non-discrimination ordinances and mandates that people use restrooms that correspond to their birth gender in government buildings.

"For over a year now, House Bill 2 has been a dark cloud hanging over our great state", Cooper told reporters in Raleigh as he delivered a stinging rebuke of the law.

Under the new law, transgender people are free to use the bathroom of their choice, but they also lack any recourse should any person, business or state entity eject them.

The stakes are high for North Carolina: The Associated Press calculated that the state made $71.4 million from 28 neutral-site NCAA events in the five academic years ending last spring.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina released a statement Thursday morning criticizing the compromise, saying it "uses the rights of LGBT people as a bargaining chip".

"Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy", Berger and Moore said in a prepared statement.

"This so-called compromise it not a repeal", said Reverend William Barber, the head of North Carolina's NAACP, on a conference call set up by opponents of the deal.

The proposal, which contained items similar to those being discussed by Republicans last week, would have repealed HB2.

Chad Griffin, president of the LGBT group Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said "the rumored HB2 "deal" does nothing more than double-down on discrimination and would ensure North Carolina remains the worst state in the nation for LGBTQ people".

Although the Democratic Party endorsed the compromise, liberal groups across the state have expressed displeasure with Cooper, calling the law a "HB2.0".

The deal leaves regulation of bathrooms exclusively in control of the state, meaning that cities and local governments can't pass their own anti-discrimination laws until December 2020.

North Carolina lawmakers have sent a legislative replacement for its disastrous HB2 bill to the desk of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who is expected to sign it into law. "It's gone", Cooper said.

The NCAA has already pulled seven championship events in baseball, soccer, lacrosse and other sports from North Carolina for the current academic year because of HB2.

"Let me be clear: this is not a repeal", said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. "Now the question is. whether or not this new bill has changed the landscape sufficiently that the board is comfortable in returning to North Carolina". HB2 supporters say ordinances like the one in Charlotte make it easy for sexual predators to enter public restrooms designated for the opposite sex.

  • Leroy Wright