Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Life&Culture | By Ted Wilson

North Carolina's "bathroom bill" repeal: who's satisfied?

North Carolina's

Following the passage of HB 2, the NCAA announced that it was cancelling all championship events in the state between 2018 and 2022, pending repeal of the law.

Bob Witeck, president and founder of Witeck Communications, a public relations firm in Washington, said he thought the new law was created to get the NCAA and National Basketball Association to come back to North Carolina, even if it didn't please everyone.

But hours after a long day of political wrangling in Raleigh, both the NCAA and ACC merely hinted that HB 142 could convince them to lift their boycotts.

The main point was that HB2 invalidated any local laws that "treat sexual orientation as a protected class or has a goal to prevent discrimination against" LGBT people. The new bill leaves all gay people vulnerable to unequal treatment until past the next presidential election.

Yet the Governor assures this new law is less restrictive than House Bill 2.

"What we proved two weeks ago is that there is a place for basketball in SC too", Buddie said.

Whether individual companies, cities or states reconsider their boycotts of North Carolina remains to be seen.

Sources involved in the negotiations said Cooper had been in daily touch with NCAA President Mark Emmert and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. If they didn't compromise today, he's not sure anything would have ever gotten done.

The president of the Human Rights Campaign said, "Each and every lawmaker who supported this bill has betrayed the LGBTQ community".

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"In a ideal world, we would have repealed HB2 today and added full statewide protections for LGBT North Carolinians", Cooper said. "In all meaningful ways, this has not changed anything".

HB2 had required transgender people to use the bathrooms consistent with the sexes on their birth certificates, rather than their gender identities.

Among the high-profile cancellations was Bruce Springsteen, who backed out of a Greensboro concert because of House Bill 2.

The compromise deal has, however, been criticized since it could still prevent schools, local municipalities and other entities from regulating access to bathrooms. House Bill 142 inhibits local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances until 2020.

When word leaked Wednesday that Republican leaders and Cooper had hammered out a deal to repeal HB2, the clock was ticking for groups on the left and right to try and put their spin on it. And it's had a ripple effect, from the NCAA to civil rights groups.

But others are calling it a "shameful #HB2.0 bill", a "bait-and-switch" and a "backroom deal". The NCAA awards Division I, II and III sports championships in four-year cycles.

"I believe sports are coming back", Gov. Roy Cooper said. However, Cooper's ability to get a bill he liked was severely limited by the reality of the North Carolina legislature.

Instead, the governor had to work with the party that crafted the bill in response to Charlotte's anti-discrimination law, resulting in a law that doesn't do what he'd hoped but does at least restore bathroom rights to transgenders, fulfilling that promise. "This isn't about North Carolina not being a hospitable place for events".

"And the question that's going to be before them: Is it now still so distinctive that we don't want to go there?" A decision about whether North Carolina sites will be considered as event hosts needs to be made by early next week, Emmert said.

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