North Carolina's Gamble for LGBT Rights Just Fell Through

December 21st 2016

Kyle Jaeger

North Carolina lawmakers failed to pass a measure to repeal the state's anti-LGBT law known as House Bill 2 on Wednesday.

HB2, also known as the "bathroom bill" due to a provision that prevents transgender individuals from using public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, was expected to be repealed in full as part of a bargain that included the Charlotte City Council's nixing of its nondiscrimination ordinance on Monday.

Charlotte fulfilled its end of the bargain, the North Carolina legislature did not.

The deal, brokered by the incoming governor Roy Cooper (D), gradually fell apart as lawmakers deliberated over amendments, including a proposed "cooling-off period" that would have prevented cities from introducing new anti-discrimination laws for 180 days.

"The [state] Senate’s last attempt was to consider two separate bills, a clean repeal of HB2 following which they’d consider the moratorium on municipal protections," ThinkProgress reported. "The repeal bill was defeated 16–32, so the Senate adjourned."

Democratic Senators blasted Republicans for "breaking [their] promise" shortly after the repeal effort failed.

Republican state Sen. Phil Berger blamed Cooper for the failed deal. In a statement released after the repeal fell through, Berger accused Cooper and Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts of "operating in bad faith by passing a secret, partial repeal in a closed-door meeting."

The American Civil Liberties Union also weighed in on Wednesday. In a statement, ACLU LGBT & HIV Project director James Esseks said "it is a shame that North Carolina’s General Assembly is refusing to clean up the mess they made."

"The support for the LGBT community from political leaders, faith leaders, businesses, and everyday people that has emerged this year will not fade," Esseks said. "These attempts to expel transgender people from public life will not be tolerated."

As it currently stands, Charlotte's non-discrimination ordinance has been repealed, and HB2 is still alive.