The North Carolina legislature voted yesterday to repeal the state’s controversial “bathroom bill” which proponents believe is a fair compromise and critics say fails to protect the transgendered from discrimination.
CNN.com is reporting on the repeal which passed by a vote of 70-48 in the House after the Senate cleared it 32-16 earlier in the day. The agreement repeals most of the bathroom bill, known as HB2, but retains a very critical component.
The deal will render regulation of bathrooms solely in the hands of the state, meaning that cities and local governments cannot pass their own anti-discrimination laws until December 2020.
The purpose of the 2020 time limit is to allow time for litigation on bathroom issues to be resolved.
The repeal effectively corrects the original problem caused by the city of Charlotte when it passed an ordinance which allowed transgender residents to use restroom facilities that corresponded to their gender identity rather than their birth gender. The move prompted the nationwide “bathroom debate” which eventually led North Carolina lawmakers to pass HB2, a bill that prohibited the use of private facilities according to gender identity rather than birth gender.
The Charlotte council has since agreed to repeal their ordinance on the condition that the state repeals HB2.
The new bill will technically repeal HB2, but it will place the regulation of bathrooms in control of the state rather than to cities.
“We’re talking about values, we’re talking about religion, it’s just a whole range of deeply held views,” said GOP state Rep. Chuck McGrady to the Washington Post.
“But in the end, I think there’s a large group of people that would like to put House Bill 2 behind us, and as long as we’re not going to have other municipalities do what Charlotte did and jump in and suddenly decide they’re going to play this out in bathrooms and changing rooms and locker rooms, which the bill makes sure doesn’t happen, we’re willing to go down that road.”
Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, told CNN the agreement was just a “shell” and complained that the LGBTQ groups had not been consulted.
“The initiative is not a repeal,” Sgro said. “It’s doubling down on the discrimination that HB2 exacts — it’s HB2.0. It doesn’t allow municipalities to protect people from discrimination till 2020. It doesn’t do anything to better the lives of LGBT North Carolinians.”
The Human Rights Campaign tweeted: “Any NC lawmaker who supports this bad #HB2 “deal” is no ally of LGBTQ people & will have planted themselves on the wrong side of history.”
The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Roy Cooper, who has already said he will sign it.
“l support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise,” the governor said. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.”
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