RALEIGH, N.C. — An effort to repeal a North Carolina bill that required residents using government restrooms to utilize the lavatory that correlates with their birth certificate failed on Wednesday.
According to reports, Republican lawmakers debated throughout the day over whether to repeal the bill in full or to repeal parts of it, while Democrats accused Republicans of reneging their promises to do away with the law. Republicans also blamed Democrats for unanimously rejecting a version of a repeal bill that banned cities from passing new restroom-related ordinances within the next six months.
“Make no mistake: Roy Cooper and Senate Democrats killed the repeal of H.B. 2, abandoning Roy Cooper’s commitment to avoid divisive social issues by shooting down a temporary cooling off period on ordinances like the one that got us into this mess last March,” Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said in a statement.
“Their action proves they only wanted a repeal in order to force radical social engineering and shared bathrooms across North Carolina, at the expense of our state’s families, our reputation and our economy,” he asserted.
But Democratic Gov.-elect Cooper chastised Republican leadership over the bill’s failure.
“Today, the legislature had a chance to do the right thing for North Carolina, and they failed,” he said in a press conference. “I am disappointed that Republican legislative leaders failed to live up to their promise to fully repeal House Bill 2.”
“I am disappointed for the people of North Carolina for the jobs that people won’t have,” he added, referring to corporations like PayPal pulling out of expansion plans in protest of the law. “I am disappointed that we have yet to remove the stain on the reputation of our great state that is around this country and around the world.”
Conversely, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest had expressed prior to the vote that it would be unwise to repeal the measure.
“No economic, political or ideological pressure can convince me that what is wrong is right,” he declared. “It will always be wrong for men to have access to women’s showers and bathrooms. If H.B. 2 is repealed, there will be nothing on the books to prevent another city or county to take us down this path again.”
As previously reported, Berger had agreed to call a special session to repeal the state’s “bathroom bill” after council members in Charlotte voted on Monday to rescind a controversial city ordinance, passed in February, that prompted the state law in the first place. Current Gov. Pat McCrory expressed suspicion over Democrats’ motivations, but agreed to ask the General Assembly to hold the session.
“As promised, I called a special session to reconsider a manufactured political issue that strategically targeted the city of Charlotte and our state by well-funded left-wing interest groups. This was at least the third time that pressure from the left sabotaged bipartisan good faith agreements for political purposes,” he remarked on Wednesday.
The law at issue required those who identify as the opposite sex to present their birth certificate before using government restrooms that correlate with their “gender identity.” McCrory had defended the law as being reasonable since transgenders could have their birth certificate changed and would then be permitted to use their preferred restroom.
“Businesses are not limited by this bill. Private individuals, companies and universities can adopt new or keep existing nondiscrimination policies,” his office also noted. “[I]f a privately-owned sporting facility wants to allow attendees of sporting events to use the restroom of their choice, or install unisex bathrooms, they can. The law neither requires nor prohibits them from doing so.”