North Carolina’s Republican legislature rejected a bid to repeal a state law restricting bathroom access for transgender people.
On Wednesday, a one day legislative session concluded after the state Senate voted against abolishing a law that has made North Carolina the center of attention in the U.S. over lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.
The repeal legislation was rejected 32-16, keeping North Carolina’s bathroom restrictions in place statewide.
Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper accused Republican leaders of backing out on an agreement they had worked out. Cooper said both chambers had the votes for a full repeal, but that divisions within the Republican Party killed it.
Cooper said, “The Republican legislative leaders have broken their word to me, and they have broken their trust with the people of North Carolina.”
Democratic Senator Jeff Jackson said “the repeal effort failed because Republicans reneged on their deal to bring the measure to a floor vote with no strings attached.” The rejection followed Republican-led political moves that tied the repeal to a second provision, which temporarily banned cities from affirming transgender bathroom rights.
HB 2 was passed back in March and made North Carolina the first state to bar transgender people from using public restrooms that matched their identities.
HB 2 was enacted in response to a local measure in Charlotte that protected the rights of transgender people to use public bathrooms of their choice.
The HB 2 law cited traditional values and a need for public safety. Those who opposed the law said HB 2 was unnecessary and a violation of civil liberties.
The national backlash was harsh and lead to boycotts that caused North Carolina to lose millions of dollars for the state as business conferences, movie productions, and sporting events moved out of North Carolina.
On Monday, The Charlotte City Council repealed its ordinance as a prelude to the state repealing HB 2.
Civil liberties and LGBT rights groups have condemned the outcome, accusing the legislature of breaking its promise to do away with HB 2.
The North Carolina Values Coalition applauded the legislature for upholding the law and refusing to give in to “demands of greedy businesses, immoral sports organizations or angry mobs.”
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