North Carolina conservatives are concerned that state lawmakers appear to be on the verge of reversing the much maligned and protested "HB2" bathroom law. The law mandates that in government buildings, people must use the bathroom that corresponds with their sex at birth.
Legislators passed the law in March in response to a Charlotte city ordinance which allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice, with no religious exemption for churches or faith groups that disagreed.
Now, Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC), a long-time supporter of the law, has called for a special session on Wednesday to consider repealing HB2. In a Facebook video he told constituents that with the repeal of the Charlotte ordinance on Monday, "the expectation of privacy in our showers, bathrooms and locker rooms is restored and protected under previous state law" and that therefore, the state law could and should be repealed.
But McCrory also blamed Charlotte officials for orchestrating the entire bathroom debate. He said that the "sudden reversal" of the Charlotte city council after the gubnatorial election in which he was defeated "proves this entire issue, originated by the political left, was all about politics."
Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore agreed with McCrory's assessment.
The political, economic and social pressure the state has faced for passing HB2 has been enormous. PayPal pulled out of plans to expand in Charlotte. Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert. The NBA and NCAA relocated major games and tournaments to other states and the Justice Department's civil rights office filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging that the law violated transgender people's civil rights.
The North Carolina Family Policy Council is warning against the repeal, however. President John Rustin says the effort would simply transfer the battle back to the local level. "Such a move would invite contentious battles in communities all across North Carolina, as proponents of open bathrooms and misguided political correctness seek to bully and pressure local elected officials to pass Charlotte-style social policies," Rustin said.
LGBT activists are applauding the repeal effort, which they have aggressively lobbied for since lawmakers passed the law. And, just as the Family Council has warned about, they're calling for renewed battles in North Carolina's cities. The Human Rights Campaign said "it's time to chart a new course guided by the state's values of dignity and respect, not discrimination and hate -- and to ensure non-discrimination protections exist in cities, towns and across the state of North Carolina."