Identity

North Carolina Just Repealed Its Bathroom Bill for Something a Little Less Discriminatory

Activists say the replacement bill still doesn't do enough to protect the LGBTQ community.
March 30, 2017, 8:50pm
Photo by Flickr user Sam Howzit

After a 70–48 vote in the Senate, North Carolina's governor signed a bill Thursday that would repeal House Bill 2, the state's so-called "bathroom bill" that forced transgender people to use public bathrooms that align with the gender they were assigned at birth, the Associated Press reports. But civil rights advocates still don't believe the new bill—HB142—goes far enough to stop LGBTQ discrimination in the state.

Advertisement

When HB2 was signed into law last March by the now-jobless former governor Pat McCrory, it also blocked local government in the state from passing their own anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The new bill—dubbed by critics as HB2.0—scraps the bathroom rule from all public places, except for schools, and still gives the state the right to dictate who can use which bathroom. It alsoprohibits local municipalities from passing their own anti-discrimination measures until 2020.

"It's not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation," Democrat governor Roy Cooper told the Charlotte Observer.

According to the Washington Post, the deal to repeal the law was set in motion by the NCAA, which essentially gave the state an ultimatum: Repeal HB2 by Thursday, or say goodbye to hosting playoff games through 2022. After the law was passed in 2016, the NCAA moved a few 2017 March Madness games from the state, various company projects and big concerts were canceled in response. The Associated Press estimated that if the law remained in place, similar boycotts would likely cost the state at least $3.7 billion over the next 12 years.

However, there's no clear sign that repealing HB2 will convince companies, celebrities, and sports associations to stop boycotting North Carolina. The NCAA released its own outline of what it would like the repeal to do, but HB142 falls short in some categories. There's still no statewide anti-discrimination law on the books for LGBTQ people—and until there is, activists say the state is failing that community.

"North Carolina remains the worst state in the nation for LGBTQ people," Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement, according to the Observer. "The consequences of this hateful law will only continue without full repeal of HB2."