In a vote was 10-0. Charlotte’s City Council has voted to repeal its controversial non-discrimination ordinance, unfortunately known as the ‘bathroom’ ordinance” despite the fact that encompassed LGBT protections for housing and employment discrimination along with public accommodations. The ordinance was pushed through the council in early 2016, just months into Mayor Jennifer Roberts’ tenure, and as a part of it required businesses to allow people to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity which quickly became the main issue on both sides.
Following a surprise move by the Charlotte City Council, Gov.-elect Roy Cooper said Monday that Legislative leaders have promised him to call a special session Tuesday to repeal House Bill 2.
“Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore assured me that as a result of Charlotte’s vote, a special session will be called for Tuesday to repeal HB 2 in full,” Cooper said in a statement. “I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full.
“Full repeal will help to bring jobs, sports and entertainment events back and will provide the opportunity for strong LGBT protections in our state.” Cooper’s announcement followed the Charlotte City Council’s vote to rescind the LGBT ordinance that prompted House Bill 2. The council was meeting at a breakfast meeting called to discuss its legislative agenda.
Mayor Jennifer Roberts called it the first concrete opportunity to repeal HB2. The law, which limits LGBT rights, has been cited as the reason for millions in lost economic development and boycotts by the NCAA and others.
LGBT activists nationwide along with the the ACLU and Lambda Legal are outraged by the city of Charlotte’s move:
“H.B. 2 was an unprecedented attack on the LGBT community, in particular against transgender people, and we are encouraged that its days are numbered,” said Sarah Gillooly, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “It is imperative that the General Assembly hold up their end of the deal and repeal H.B. 2 in full without delay. This will be an important step for North Carolinians to move forward, but it never should have come at the cost of protections for LGBT people living in Charlotte.”
“LGBT rights aren’t a bargaining chip. Charlotte shouldn’t have had to repeal its ordinance in exchange for H.B. 2 to be repealed,” said Simone Bell, the Southern Regional Director for Lambda Legal. “LGBT people in North Carolina still need protection from discrimination.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and the law firm of Jenner & Block are challenging H.B. 2 in federal court on behalf of four LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina.
The ACLU and Lambda Legal lawsuit, Carcaño v. McCrory, was filed days after H.B. 2 was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by Governor Pat McCrory. In the lawsuit, the groups argue that through the law, North Carolina sends a purposeful message that LGBT people are second-class citizens who are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded others in the state and that transgender individuals, in particular, are expelled from public life through H.B. 2’s mandate that they be forced out of restrooms and changing facilities that accord with who they are.
The complaint argues that H.B. 2 violates Title IX and Title VII by discriminating against students and school employees on the basis of sex. It also argues the law is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating on the basis of sex and sexual orientation and violates the privacy and medical decision making rights of transgender people.”
Unsurprisingly the Human Rights Campaign does not seem all that upset about it:
“Governor-elect Cooper has briefed us on a deal he brokered with state lawmakers to reach a complete and total repeal of HB2,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “HB2 is precisely why North Carolinians went to the polls and ousted Governor McCrory last month. 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. It’s been 271 days since the shameful and archaic HB2 was first passed, and the entire country has witnessed its devastating impact. It’s time for state lawmakers to repeal HB2 and begin repairing the harm this bill has done to people and the damage it has done to North Carolina’s reputation and economy.”