USA First Look

North Carolina moves to repeal controversial 'bathroom bill'

North Carolina's outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said that he will call a special session for legislators to repeal the law, which limits protections for LGBT people.

A protester with the Human Rights Campaign holds a sign advocating the repeal of HB2 at the Government Center earlier this month.
Brian Gomsak/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign | Caption

North Carolina's law requiring transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificates may soon be history. 

Outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory says he will call a special session on Tuesday so that legislators can consider repealing HB2, widely known as the "bathroom bill," which limits protections for LGBT people in the state. 

The announcement follows the Charlotte City Council's decision on Monday to repeal a local nondiscrimination ordinance enacted in early 2016, which Republicans said prompted HB2. The Council will repeal the ordinance, which would have ensured transgender people's right to use restrooms according to their gender identities, if North Carolina legislators fully repeal the bathroom bill by Dec. 31. 

Repealing HB2 would be a notable sign of cooperation between Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper and the Republican-controlled legislature after lawmakers last week used a special legislative session to strip power from the incoming governor. The new package reduces the number of appointments the governor makes from 1,500 to 300, makes cabinet picks subject to Senate approval, and ends the governor’s power to make appointments to the state’s University of North Carolina boards of trustees and the state school board.

North Carolina voters sent a "strong message" last month by voting Cooper, a Democrat, into office, as Patrik Jonsson reported for The Christian Science Monitor on Saturday:

Though [North Carolina voters] chose Donald Trump for president and Republican Richard Burr for US Senate, they voted McCrory out of office and elected a Democrat to the state Supreme Court, ensuring a 5-to-4 Democratic majority. 

To many in the state, the election was partly a repudiation of backroom and payback politics that have tarnished the state’s reputation, including the passage in the middle of the night of House Bill 2. The so-called “bathroom bill” gutted nondiscrimination guarantees in cities such as Charlotte for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and led to widespread boycotts of the state by businesses, sporting events, and even other state governments.

Governor McCrory, a Republican, accused Democrats Monday morning of using the "bathroom bill" for political gain. 

"This sudden reversal [of the Charlotte ordinance] with little notice after the gubernatorial election sadly proves this entire issue originated by the political left was all about politics and winning the governor's race at the expense of Charlotte and our entire state," he said in a statement. 

This report contains material from the Associated Press and Reuters.