- Thomson Reuters
North Carolina Republicans issued an unusual statement early Wednesday morning signaling that the repeal of the state’s contentious “bathroom law” may be in jeopardy.
The law, called House Bill 2 or HB2, limits LGBT rights across the state. One provision mandates that transgender residents use the public bathrooms that correspond with their biological sex rather than their gender identity.
Republicans crafted the law in March to override a nondiscrimination ordinance that protected LGBT residents in Charlotte, the state’s most populous city.
On Monday, Charlotte’s City Council announced it had overturned a local ordinance in an apparent deal with state Republicans to repeal House Bill 2. However, local media reported late Tuesday night that Charlotte had repealed only select parts of the ordinance, drawing the ire of lawmakers who said Charlotte didn’t keep its word.
In a strongly worded statement released at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, North Carolina’s Republican Party accused the Charlotte council and Governor-elect Roy Cooper, a Democrat, of lying about fulfilling their end of the bargain.
“Roy Cooper and Charlotte City Council Democrats lied directly to the people of North Carolina, the Legislature, and Gov. McCrory about repealing the Charlotte City Council ordinance that caused HB2,” the statement read. “They and they alone created this problem and have now seriously harmed HB2 repeal efforts.”
“The HB2 blood is now stain soaked on their hands and theirs alone. What a dishonest, disgraceful shame by Roy Cooper and Charlotte Democrats,” it said.
— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) December 21, 2016
The statement elicited a confused response from Twitter users, who noted its multiple typographic errors, including a reference to “Rory Cooper.”
Charlotte officials defended their partial repeal of the local ordinance, saying they removed the specific sections to which state lawmakers had objected.
“The City Council acted in good faith to do everything that it understood was necessary to facilitate the repeal of HB2,” the city said in a statement.
Later on Wednesday, an hour before state lawmakers gathered in Raleigh to decide the fate of House Bill 2, the Charlotte council voted to repeal its local ordinance in its entirety.
Still, some state Republicans continue to oppose a repeal of House Bill 2. With Republicans holding a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly, Democrats will need bipartisan support to overturn the law.
Crafted in a one-day special session in March, House Bill 2 led several businesses to withdraw expansions in North Carolina, costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Numerous entertainers have cancelled events in the state, and the NBA, NCAA, and ACC have relocated major sports events since the law’s passage.
The law has been staunchly defended by Gov. Pat McCrory and state Republicans, who say the bathroom provision protects women from sexual predators. McCrory’s defense of the law is thought to have contributed to his narrow loss to Cooper in November’s election.