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Deal Struck to Repeal N.C.'s HB 2 — But Is It Real Repeal?

Tim Moore and Phil Berger

North Carolina legislators announced late Wednesday that they have reached a deal to repeal the state’s infamous anti-LGBT House Bill 2 — but the repeal measure may leave some of the controversial law’s provisions in place, bringing opposition from LGBT rights proponents.

State Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore announced the deal in a brief press conference Wednesday night and said a vote would come on the repeal measure Thursday morning, The Charlotte Observer reports. They took no questions and released no details, but Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement of support.

“I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow,” Cooper said, according to the Observer. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.”

Cooper, a Democrat, was elected in November partly because Republican incumbent Pat McCrory’s reputation had been damaged so by HB 2, which he signed into law last year. Cooper, then the state’s attorney general, refused to defend it in court.

The law prohibits cities and counties from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination ordinances and bars transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and other single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity, when those are located in government buildings, including public schools, colleges, and universities. It came in response to the city of Charlotte’s adoption of an LGBT-inclusive public accommodations ordinance.

Because of HB 2, several businesses have canceled expansions in North Carolina, performers have canceled concerts, the NBA pulled its All-Star Game, and college athletics groups have withdrawn championship games from the state. A recent Associated Press analysis estimated the law would cost North Carolina $3.76 billion in lost business over the next dozen years. The vote is coming ahead of a deadline given by the NCAA to change the law by Thursday or lose the opportunity to host championships until 2022,

But one attempt to repeal the law failed in December, and the latest one could fail too. Leaked details of the repeal bill indicate it would “prevent cities from regulating bathrooms and locker rooms, and prevent local governments from adopting anti-discrimination ordinances for three years,” the Observer reports.

“The deal proposed would continue to actively discriminate against the LGBT community,” Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, told the paper in a conference call.

And Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin issued a statement saying, “The rumored HB 2 ‘deal’ does nothing more than double-down on discrimination and would ensure North Carolina remains the worst state in the nation for LGBTQ people. The consequences of this hateful law will only continue without full repeal of HB 2. Sellouts cave under pressure. Leaders fight for what’s right.”

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