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North Carolina legislators pass compromise ending trangendered bathroom ban

But compromise measure prevents cities from passing protections for LGBTQ people

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

RALEIGH (CFP) — After a year of turmoil and economic boycotts, North Carolina legislators have passed a compromise bill that rolls back HB2, a law which prohibited transgendered people from using restrooms in public facilities that didn’t conform with their their birth gender.

However, the bill hammered out by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and leaders of the Republican-controlled legislature also forbids local jurisdictions in North Carolina from passing non-discrimination ordinances protecting LGBTQ people until at least 2020, a compromise that left LGBTQ advocates seething.

“Lawmakers and Governor Cooper have failed to resolve the problems with HB2 by doubling down on discrimination,” said Chris Sgro executive director of Equality NC. “Once again, the North Carolina General Assembly has enshrined discrimination into North Carolina law.”

“Lawmakers must reject this disgraceful backroom deal that uses the rights of LGBT people as a bargaining chip,” said Sarah Gillooly, policy director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “It is shameful that legislative leaders and North Carolina’s governor are once again rushing through a discriminatory anti-LGBT measure without proper vetting or an opportunity for public input.”

The bill to repeal HB 2 passed March 30, less than 12 hours after the compromise between Cooper and legislative leaders was unveiled. The House approved the repeal 70 to 48; the Senate, 32 to 16.

Cooper, who as attorney general refused to defend HB2 when it was challenged in court, campaigned for governor in 2016 on a pledge to repeal the law. Just a week before the compromise was reached, Equality NC was lauding Cooper for insisting on full repeal.

Attorney General Roy Cooper

In a statement issued after the repeal bill was unveiled, the governor conceded that it was a compromise from the outright repeal initially sought.

“It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” Cooper said.

The compromise bill was passed the same day that the NCAA was to decide whether to remove all of its events from North Carolina until 2022 in protest of the transgendered bathroom exclusion.

HB2 was pushed through the GOP-controlled legislature in March 2016 in reaction to the decision by the Charlotte City Council to pass a human rights ordinance protecting LGBTQ people, which included the right of transgendered people to use restrooms and locker rooms that comport with their gender identity, rather than their birth gender.

The new law set off a firestorm of controversy. The NBA, ACC and NCAA all pulled events from the state, and a number of businesses halted plans to relocate or expand there.

The governor at the time, Republican Pat McCrory, bore the brunt of the nationwide backlash to the law. Last November, he was the only Republican governor to lose his seat, in a campaign dominated by the HB2 controversy.

Under the repeal measure, local jurisdictions would no longer be able to regulate use of bathroom facilities in public buildings, as Charlotte tried to do. Only the legislature could enact such regulations, but, after repeal of HB 2, no regulations currently exist. In essence, while transgendered people would not specifically be barred from using facilities that comport with their gender identity, they would also not have a legal right to do so.

However, the second part of the repeal bill prevents Charlotte or any other jurisdiction in North Carolina from passing LGBTQ anti-discrimination measure for the next three years.

Candidates spar over North Carolina’s bathroom bill in governor’s debate

Governor Pat McCrory defends Trump, says Caitlyn Jenner would have to use men’s shower

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

north-carolina mugRALEIGH (CFP) — Facing off in a debate less than a month before voters go to the polls, Republican Governor Pat McCrory and his Democratic challenger, Attorney General Roy Cooper, sparred over a series of controversial laws passed by North Carolina’s GOP-controlled legislature, in particular a controversial measure that requires transgendered people to use bathrooms and shower facilities that conform with their birth gender in public facilities.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory

In the October 12 debate, sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters and airing on UNC-TV, the governor also continued to defend his endorsement of Donald Trump after video surfaced on October 7 in which the Republican presidential nominee made braggadocious comments about being allowed to grab women’s genitals because of his celebrity.

“Mr. Trump needs to have his mouth washed out with soap, but so does Mrs. Clinton,” McCrory said.

In response, Cooper said that “it’s hard to believe that Governor McCrory continues to support a presidential candidate who condones sexual assault.”

“Governor McCrory and Donald Trump are a lot alike. They both have trouble with the facts, and they both engage in divisive rhetoric.”

McCrory, who has come under national criticism for HB 2, the so-called bathroom bill, defended his support for the law, saying that it was the result of “a major change in culture” initiated by city officials in Charlotte, who had passed a measure outlawing discrimination against transgendered people that HB 2 overturned.

“We never brought this issue up. It was the mayor of Charlotte, with strong support from the attorney general,” the governor said. “It wasn’t called for. It was the liberals that brought it up.”

But Cooper called for the law’s repeal, saying that “it writes discrimination into our law, and it has been a disaster for our economy.”

“This legislation was passed in one day and signed in the middle of the night. And Governor McCrory continues to go across the state telling people that this is not hurting our economy,” Cooper said. “Governor, what planet are you on?”

In response to the passage of the bathroom bill, a number of businesses have cancelled plans to move or expand in North Carolina, and the NBA, NCAA and ACC have all pulled events from the Tar Heel State.

McCrory was asked by the debate’s moderator, NBC’s Chuck Todd, if the law would force Caitlyn Jenner, a former Olympic athlete and the nation’s best-known transgendered women, to use men’s bathroom facilities.

The governor said that while private businesses had the right to decide that for themselves under state law, “If she’s going to shower at a facility at UNC-Chapel Hill after running around the track, she’s going to use the men’s shower. ”

Recent polls in the race have shown Cooper with a slight lead.

Here is the full video of the October 11 debate.

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