A deal has fallen apart to undo the North Carolina law known as the “bathroom bill,” in a sign of the state’s bitter political divide.
The state’s legislature was called into a special session on Dec. 21, to consider repealing the law known as HB2 after months of pressure, including lost jobs and canceled sporting events and concerts.
The latest special session was called by Gov. Pat McCrory, after Charlotte gutted a local nondiscrimination ordinance that Republicans had blamed for necessitating the statewide law.
After the session, McCrory said in a statement that the interest in a repeal was a “manufactured political issue that strategically targeted the city of Charlotte and our state by well-funded left-wing interest groups.”
“As I’ve stated multiple times,” he added, “the balance between privacy and equality is not just a North Carolina issue, it is a national issue that will be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court in the near future.”
Among other things, HB2 requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificate in many public buildings.
Here’s what led to where we are now.
What sparked it?
In February, the Charlotte City Council approved an ordinance revising the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, expanding protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and allowing people to use restrooms of the sex by which they identify.
That drew the ire of McCrory, once Charlotte’s mayor, who warned such leniency was a threat to public safety. He also hinted at state legislative action.
In March, the state’s house and senate passed the bill in a special session. Just hours later, McCrory signed the bill, which overturned Charlotte’s expansions.
The bill’s passage stoked protests in North Carolina, the disapproval of various companies and celebrities, as well as resulted in two federal lawsuits.
Google, Apple, and Microsoft came out against the bill, as well as the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. The NBA moved its All-Star game from Charlotte to New Orleans over the law, and various musicians canceled North Carolina performances, including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Boston, Pearl Jam, Nick Jonas, and Demi Lovato.
The issue inserted itself into the state’s gubernatorial race earlier this year. Democratic challenger Roy Cooper attacked McCrory for the bill. Cooper, the state’s attorney general, eventually unseated McCrory.
What happened today?
The legislature reconvened on Dec. 21 to consider repealing the law, after the Charlotte City Council’s decision to revoke part of its anti-discrimination ordinance.
In a statement after the vote, the city cited the “ongoing negative economic impact” resulting from the ordinance and House Bill 2.
The move prompted McCrory, who had who promised to re-consider the bill if Charlotte reversed course, to call a special session of the legislature on Dec. 21.