Deal to repeal anti-LGBT North Carolina law collapses at last minute

Governor Pat McCrory (Pic: Hal Goodtree)

Outgoing Governor Pat McCrory (Pic: Hal Goodtree)

North Carolina’s LGBT community is infuriated after a deal between Republican and Democratic lawmakers to scrap the state’s anti-LGBT law fell apart at the last minute.

On Wednesday, the North Carolina General Assembly failed to repeal the deeply discriminatory HB2 law which has bedeviled the state since it was enacted in March by former Republican Governor Pat McCrory and fellow Republican lawmakers.

The HB2 law removes municipal LGBT non-discrimination protections in the state and prevents similar protections from being passed by cities in the future. This means that a private business can refuse service to any person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity in the state.

The law also forces transgender students in public schools and universities as well as people in state buildings to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity.

After Democratic candidate Roy Cooper was recently elected governor of North Carolina, a deal was struck between the two parties to repeal the controversial law this week.

On Wednesday, however, Republicans instead unexpectedly proposed a six-month “cooling-off” period before the law lapsed. Democratic lawmakers refused to back the move fearing the delay would be simply renewed in six months.

“Today, the public trust has been betrayed once again,” commented (Human Rights Campaign) HRC President Chad Griffin. “It’s been 273 days since Republican state lawmakers passed the hateful HB2 law, and they have resisted fixing the mess they created every step of the way.

“Their shameful actions and broken promises subject LGBTQ North Carolinians to state-mandated discrimination, contribute to a heightened environment of harassment and violence, and will continue the significant harm done to the state’s reputation and economy,” said Griffin.

“The North Carolina General Assembly is a national disgrace,” added National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) Executive Director Mara Keisling. “The legislature’s actions today have proven that the people of North Carolina – particularly transgender North Carolinians – cannot have any faith in their shameless lawmakers.”

North Carolina is facing massive economic damage as a result of the law. It has been boycotted by major corporations and film studios, which have stopped investments or cancelled events in the state because of the law’s threat to employees and consumers. Artists such as Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Pearl Jam have also called off their shows in the state in protest.

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