Governor of North Carolina Roy Cooper announced late Wednesday night that a compromise had been reached in the state congress to repeal a controversial law known popularly as the ‘Bathroom Bill’.
Passed in March of 2016 by former Republican Governor Pat McCrory, the controversial bill included a host of measures which led to it being dubbed ‘the most anti-LGBT law in America” by PBS and other critics. Among the most debated items on House Bill 2 was a regulation on the use of restrooms by transgender persons. HB 2 stipulated that individuals could only enter toilets in public buildings which corresponded with the sex listed on their birth certificate.
While Cooper and his allies are touting the late-night deal as a victory for liberalism, some gay rights groups have criticized the compromise. LGBT advocates are saying the revision would still allow a watered-down form of discrimination
Under the new bill, which will be considered by legislators on Thursday, a moratorium on local nondiscrimination laws would still be enforced until 2020. The state would also continue to maintain full authority over the use of “multi-occupancy facilities” – bathrooms – for the foreseeable future.
“Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal full protects bathroom safety and privacy,” wrote Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore in a joint statement.
The rationale underlying HB 2 was that allowing transgender individuals to use the restrooms associated with their preferred gender opened other occupants to sexual assault. Fear-mongers claimed that men dressed as women could enter ladies’ lavatories to prey on unsuspecting women and children.
Roy Cooper said Wednesday, “I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow. It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.”
Cooper is a Democrat. The New York Times and other media outlets have speculated his “razor-thin” election was due in part to voter frustration over the wave of publicity the passing of House Bill 2 brought to North Carolina.
A host of other pressures also acted on lawmakers to reconsider their positions. Among the most prominent was the NCAA, which threatened to bar North Carolina from hosting any championship sporting events through 2022. The Association had warned legislators they had until Thursday to repeal the bill before sanctions would be formally implemented.
The Atlantic Coast Conference had already “moved its neutral-site championships out of North Carolina this year in response to House Bill 2, and the National Basketball Association moved its All-Star game from Charlotte to New Orleans,” reports The New York Times.
Cathryn Oakley of the Human Rights Campaign remained skeptical of the deal and its still watered-down protections. Lamenting the lack of any statewide anti-discrimination law, she said, “What [this] means for the L.G.B.T. community is that continue to be boxed out of nondiscrimination protections.”
A vote on the replacement bill is expected today.