North Carolina legislature votes to overturn controversial “bathroom bill”

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DURHAM, NC – MAY 11: A gender neutral sign is posted outside a bathrooms at Oval Park Grill on May 11, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. Debate over transgender bathroom access spreads nationwide as the U.S. Department of Justice countersues North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory from enforcing the provisions of House Bill 2 (HB2) that […]

A deal that North Carolina lawmakers reached to repeal the state’s controversial and costly “bathroom bill” cleared the state’s legislature Thursday after contentious debate, but the compromise has left LGBTQ advocates exasperated — with some calling it “shameful” and an “outrageous betrayal.”

The state’s House passed the bill 70-48 on Thursday afternoon after nearly two hours of heated debate. The state’s Senate passed the bill by a 32-16 vote earlier in the day, after a deal was struck late Wednesday by the state’s new Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who campaigned on fully repealing the HB2 bill, and North Carolina’s leading Republican lawmakers, who have supported the measure.

The repeal bill, known as HB142, now goes to Cooper, who is expected to sign it.

HB2 was passed last March under former Gov. Pat McCrory. The bill sparked a massive political and financial backlash and a showdown with the NCAA.

The NCAA has said it would not let North Carolina host college championship games through the year 2022 unless there were changes to the law made by Thursday.

LGBTQ and civil rights advocates have called for a full repeal of the bill, and denounced the new compromise over provisions they say will still allow for discrimination, namely a three-year ban on local nondiscrimination ordinances.

The compromise bill weaves in several provisions, including repealing HB2, leaving state legislators in charge of policy over multi-stall bathrooms, and puts a temporary halt on local governments passing nondiscrimination ordinances until 2020 — which lawmakers say would allot time for ongoing court cases on transgender issues to play out.

“A deal that leaves out LGBT North Carolinians, and particularly transgender people, should be no deal at all. It is shameful to stamp a start date on equality,” Simone Bell, Lambda Legal Southern regional director said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union came out strongly against the deal in a series of tweets on Thursday, calling on the NCAA to reject the deal and not “settle for this fake repeal.”

Read more here.

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