North Carolina lawmakers struck a deal late Wednesday to repeal the highly controversial so-called “bathroom bill.”
However, LGBT advocates are still unhappy because Republicans are not flatly repealing House Bill 2, which prevented local governments from requiring private businesses to have transgender bathrooms and ensured the use of public facilities would be tied to biological sex. Instead, the legislators are replacing it with a new law.
The new bill would keep government bathroom regulations a function of the state to ensure “women and girls should not have to share bathrooms with men,” according to North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) and state Senate leader Phil Berger (R). The proposal also puts a temporary moratorium on local governments, barring them from trying to pass ordinances mandating private companies to provide transgender restroom accommodations until December 2020, The Associated Press reported.
The new legislation, which will be debated and voted on Thursday, would return North Carolina to the laws on the books prior to a controversial Charlotte ordinance, which was approved in February 2016 and required businesses to provide accommodations for transgender people and mandated they be allowed to use either the men’s or women’s restroom, depending on their gender identity.
While Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, isn’t totally happy with the new measure, he has endorsed it and signaled that it’s a step in the right direction.
“It’s not a perfect deal,” he said, “but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.”
But Cooper's friends on the left aren’t feeling so generous. The Human Right Campaign, an LGBT advocacy organization, said any lawmaker who supports this law “is no ally of LGBTQ people.”
Chad Griffin, president of the HRC, lambasted the compromise as a “statewide prohibition on equality” and called the new proposal a “dirty deal” in a statement to reporters.
However, Moore and Berger said, “Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy.”
Former Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who lost to Cooper in November, urged lawmakers to stick with the deal and allow the Supreme Court to “resolve [the] issue for our nation.”
The late-night deal came as the NCAA announced that North Carolina locations won’t be considered for championship events from 2018-22 “absent any change” to the “bathroom bill.”
The NCAA already removed championship events from the Tar Heel State because of the law, which it views as discriminatory.
An AP analysis this week determined the law will cost North Carolina more than $3.76 billion in lost business over the next 12 years because businesses, celebrities, and sporting associations have decided to boycott the state.