The Times-Tribune

Uncertaint­y looms over ‘bathroom bill’ debate

Lawmakers face pressure to repeal law


RALEIGH, N.C. — Legislator­s who passed the North Carolina law known as the “bathroom bill” nine months ago head back to the capital on today to consider repealing it. But there’s uncertaint­y over exactly what lawmakers will do, in part because this Republican-controlled legislatur­e has shown a willingnes­s to go its own way, despite intense outside pressure to scrap the law.

Over the past year, there has been bitter fighting between Democrats and Republican­s. Just last week, Republican leaders convened a surprise legislativ­e session and passed two laws designed to bring Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper’s powers in check when he becomes governor Jan. 1.

Mr. Cooper blasted outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory over the law known as House Bill 2 during the governor’s race, and the fallout over the law — job losses, canceled concerts and sporting events — contribute­d to Mr. McCrory’s narrow defeat. The wide-ranging law is best known for requiring transgende­r people to use restrooms correspond­ing to the sex on their birth certificat­e in many public buildings.

The state’s Republican leaders say they’ve been willing for months to consider repealing the state law if Charlotte acted first to undo a local antidiscri­mination ordinance. The city council gutted the ordinance Monday on a contingenc­y basis, paving the way for the special session.

GOP Rep. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonv­ille supports repealing the entire law and said he believes a significan­t number of House members from both parties do as well.

“Everybody is acting in good faith in my opinion,” Mr. McGrady said. House Republican­s met by phone Monday and would meet in person in Raleigh later Tuesday, he said.

However, lawmakers were already under pressure from some conservati­ve groups to keep HB2 in place.

“We’re sending the message to our supporters that lawmakers should not now betray people who supported them and compromise common-sense principles like privacy, dignity and freedom from our citizens,” said Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition.

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