North Carolina considers transgender
bathroom law repeal this week
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[December 20, 2016]
By Letitia Stein
(Reuters) - A North Carolina law limiting
bathroom access for transgender people could be repealed this week after
months of protests and economic boycotts over legislation decried as
In a surprise development, outgoing Republican Governor Pat McCrory
called the state legislature to convene on Wednesday to reconsider the
law adopted in March baring transgender people from using government-run
restrooms that match their gender identity.
North Carolina's law, the first of its kind, catapulted the state to the
forefront of U.S. culture wars over lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) rights. It has been blamed for hundreds of millions
of dollars in economic losses and the relocation of major sporting
Earlier on Monday, the city council in Charlotte, the state's largest
city, voted to remove local non-discrimination measures that triggered
the state's bathroom legislation, calling for immediately repeal the law
known as House Bill (H.B.) 2.
"Now that the Charlotte ordinance has finally been repealed, the
expectation of privacy in our showers, bathrooms and locker rooms is
restored and protected under previous state law," McCrory said in a
He recently lost a razor-thin election seen as a referendum on the
McCrory called Charlotte's "sudden reversal with little notice after the
gubernatorial election" proof that opponents seized the issue for
Governor-elect Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said he had assurances from
Republican legislative leaders on the special session to repeal H.B. 2.
"I hope they will keep their word to me," Cooper said in a statement
earlier in the day, noting a repeal will help bring back jobs and events
lost in the boycott.
Amid the fallout, the National Basketball Association and leading
collegiate conferences pulled sporting events from the state. Performers
including Bruce Springsteen, Maroon 5 and Pearl Jam canceled shows and
companies such as PayPal Holdings and Deutsche Bank scrapped plans to
add jobs in the state.
[to top of second column]
North Carolina Governor-elect Roy Cooper speaks to supporters at a
victory rally the day after his Republican opponent and incumbent
Pat McCrory conceded in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S., December 6,
2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Signaling ongoing discord, Republican legislative leaders called
Cooper dishonest in a statement on Monday afternoon, while
acknowledging they would heed McCrory's call.
Last week, the Republican-dominated legislature passed measures to
curtail the executive authority of the incoming Democratic governor.
"This will be an important step for North Carolinians to move
forward, but it never should have come at the cost of protections
for LGBT people living in Charlotte,” said Sarah Gillooly, policy
director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina,
one of the groups challenging the law in federal court.
(Reporting by Letitia Stein and Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Alan
Crosby and Dan Grebler)
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