North Carolina has been the epicenter for political controversy in 2016, and the year is ending with even more turmoil. The state’s legislation intended to ensure that people use bathrooms appropriate to their birth gender, a law that prompted economic boycotts and the defeat of the state’s republican governor, has withstood a last ditch repeal effort.
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The law is seen as an affront to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and angered many in North Carolina, and even more people outside of the state. The repeal efforts came days after Republicans stripped powers from Governor-elect Roy Cooper, a Democrat.
“We came here to solve a problem that apparently nobody had any clear idea as to how it was going to be solved,” said Senator Daniel T. Blue Jr., the chamber’s Democratic leader. “It’s one thing if, during the regular session, we waste time and do this kind of stuff.”
The law, which the General Assembly passed last March, made national headlines. It also hit some businesses in state that rely on tourism. The NCAA pulled its basketball championships. The ACC moved its conference championship from Charlotte. Rock icons cancelled concerts, companies ditched expansion plans, and the state now has to contend with a slew of lawsuits.
Republican governor, Pat McCrory, called a special session to “take up the repeal of H.B. 2.” Opponents of the legislation were certain it would be repealed Wednesday, but it was not.
The republicans had been willing to repeal the law if legislators from the city of Charlotte would agree to drop an anti-discrimination ordinance they had passed that included broad and abstract language.
But Charlotte officials left in provisions, “including a part of the ordinance that empowered Charlotte’s community relations committee to “approve or disapprove plans to reduce or eliminate discrimination” with respect to familial status, gender expression, gender identity, marital status and sexual orientation,” The NY Times reports.
“Governor McCrory called a special session for repeal, based on good faith when Roy Cooper and Charlotte Democrats announced to the world a full repeal of the Charlotte ordinance,” wrote Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party. “However, they lied. The H.B. 2 blood is now stain soaked on their hands and theirs alone. What a dishonest, disgraceful shame by Roy Cooper and Charlotte Democrats.”
Looks like the dust-up will carry over into 2017, and maybe further.