Wed | Jul 18, 2018

North Carolina rolls back 'bathroom bill' despite criticism

Published:Friday | March 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM
North Carolina Senate President pro tem Phil Berger, right, and Senate Democratic leader Sen. Dan Blue announce a bill to replace the controversial HB2 or "bathroom bill" at the North Carolina General Assembly yesterday.


North Carolina rolled back its "bathroom bill" yesterday in a bid to end the yearlong backlash over transgender rights that has cost the state dearly in business projects, conventions and basketball tournaments.

The compromise plan, announced Wednesday night by the Democratic governor and leaders of the Republican-controlled legislature, was worked out under mounting pressure from the NCAA, which threatened to take away more sporting events from the basketball-obsessed state as long as the law, also known as House Bill 2 (HB2), remained on the books.

The new measure cleared the House and Senate and was signed by Governor. Roy Cooper in a matter of hours.

Among other things, it repeals the best-known section of HB2: a requirement that transgender people use the public restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate.

"Today's law immediately removes that restriction. It's gone," Cooper said.

The American Civil Liberties Union and gay and transgender activists complained that the new law still denies them certain protections from discrimination, and they demanded nothing less than full repeal.

As a result, it was unclear whether the retreat from HB2 would stop the boycotts or satisfy the NCAA. The NCAA had no immediate comment.

During impassioned debate on the House floor, conservatives accused their colleagues of caving in to pressure from college basketball.

While the new measure eliminates the rule on transgender bathroom use, it also makes clear that state legislators not local government or school officials are in charge of policy on public restrooms.

HB2 supporters argued that the bathroom law was needed to preserve people's privacy and protect them from sexual predators. Opponents said that was nonsense and that the danger was imaginary.