Governor Roy Cooper
LGBTQ groups are outraged that a secret deal to repeal North Carolina’s reviled anti-LGBTQ law is little better than the original legislation.
On Thursday, the state’s lawmakers and Governor Roy Cooper passed a so-called “repeal” of the discriminatory HB2 law, which had led to a slew of damaging boycotts against North Carolina.
Activists say, however, that the new legislation, passed after secret backroom negotiations, is “shameful”, a betrayal of the LGBTQ community and upholds many of the original law’s discriminatory provisions.
The law will effectively ban LGBTQ non-discrimination protections statewide until 2020 and permanently bars cities from passing laws that ensure transgender people can access facilities in accordance with their identity, said the groups.
They noted that the new legislation was endorsed both by former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who was booted out by voters for approving HB2, as well as anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council.
After signing the law, Governor Cooper admitted that it was a compromise but claimed that “this is the best deal we could get.” He added: “I believe with all my heart that this is the right thing to do. It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.”
“This new law does not repeal HB2,” commented Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Instead, it institutes a statewide prohibition on equality by banning non-discrimination protections across North Carolina and fuels the flames of anti-transgender hate. Each and every lawmaker who supported this bill has betrayed the LGBTQ community,” he insisted.
“HB2 was hastily passed without any input from the LGBTQ community just one year ago,” said Chris Sgro, Equality NC Executive Director. “Today, we returned to the legislature with a deal… that once again left out the ones most impacted by the discriminatory law – LGBTQ North Carolinians.”
“This bill and those like it are based on the vicious lie that trans people represent some type of danger to others,” added NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. “When, in fact, there are thousands of school children who have been terrorised by HB2, and thousands of parents constantly worried about the safety of their children. The best thing North Carolina can do is to simply repeal HB2 outright, not this outrageously veiled attack on anti-discrimination.”
GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said that the deal was made in a desperate attempt to avoid the state losing major sporting events. “Any human being, regardless of who they are, should always come before a basketball game – but apparently the North Carolina state government still doesn’t understand that concept.”
The groups promised to fight the new law in every way possible and once again called on “all businesses, sports leagues and entertainers who have fought against HB2 to continue standing strong with the LGBTQ community attacked by this hateful law”.
The passage of HB2 in March last year had a devastating impact on North Carolina’s economy. It led to boycotts by major corporations and film studios, which stopped investments 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 called off their shows in protest while sports bodies also moved major sporting events from the state.
It now remains to be seen if the new law will have any impact on reversing the damage to North Carolina’s reputation and economy.