Carolina fails to re­peal LGBT “bath­room bill”

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Gary D. Robert­son and Emery P. Dale­sio

raleigh, n.c.» Amid deep­en­ing ac­ri­mony, a sup­pos­edly bi­par­ti­san deal to kill the North Carolina law known as the “bath­room bill” fell apart Wed­nes­day night, en­sur­ing the like­li­hood that global cor­po­ra­tions and na­tional sports events will con­tinue to stay away from the state.

The law lim­its pro­tec­tions for LGBT peo­ple and was best known for a pro­vi­sion that re­quires trans­gen­der peo­ple to use pub­lic re­strooms cor­re­spond­ing to the gen­der on their birth cer­tifi­cates. It was passed this year af­ter Char­lotte of­fi­cials ap­proved a sweep­ing anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion or­di­nance.

The re­peal com­pro­mise touted by Demo­cratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory called for Char­lotte to do away with its or­di­nance. In ex­change, law­mak­ers would undo the LGBT law.

But both sides balked: GOP law­mak­ers cried foul when Char­lotte lead­ers ini­tially left part of the city’s or­di­nance in place. And when the Se­nate bill called for a months-long ban on ci­ties pass­ing sim­i­lar or­di­nances, Democrats said Repub­li­cans were go­ing back on their prom­ise. Cooper said the mora­to­rium es­sen­tially dou­bled down on dis­crim­i­na­tion.

“The leg­is­la­ture had a chance to do the right thing for North Carolina, and they failed,” Cooper said. “This was our best chance. It can­not be our last chance.”

The trou­bles in reach­ing a res­o­lu­tion ex­posed the in­tense dis­trust within the leg­is­la­ture that has only in­ten­si­fied over the years, es­pe­cially since Repub­li­cans took over con­trol of state gov­ern­ment in 2013. Cooper’s vic­tory was greeted last week by Repub­li­cans act­ing in a spe­cial ses­sion to strip away sev­eral of the gov­er­nor’s pow­ers.

“This has been a long and ul­ti­mately frus­trat­ing day,” Se­nate leader Phil Berger told re­porters af­ter the ses­sion ended.

He blamed Cooper and Char­lotte lead­ers for sink­ing the deal. Mean­while, Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Dan Blue crit­i­cized McCrory for call­ing the spe­cial ses­sion a few days be­fore Christmas when there didn’t seem to be an agree­ment.

And House Repub­li­cans couldn’t seem to fig­ure out what they wanted. They spent most of the day in closed-door meet­ings fight­ing about whether to ap­prove a re­peal bill.

Peo­ple crowded the House and Se­nate gal­leries and in the third-floor ro­tunda all day, keep­ing watch on the ac­tion, or lack thereof. But the mood was much more docile than the an­gry demon­stra­tions of last week when more than 50 demon­stra­tors were ar­rested dur­ing two days.

So­cial con­ser­va­tives were thrilled with the preser­va­tion of HB2. North Carolina Val­ues Coali­tion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Tami Fitzger­ald praised law­mak­ers “who stood up for what is right and rep­re­sented the will of vot­ers by stop­ping the move to cower and cave in to the city of Char­lotte and the Hu­man Rights Cam­paign.”

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