A deal to repeal North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law HB2 collapsed on Wednesday.
House Bill 2, which was signed into law by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on 23 March, renders all local anti-discrimination ordinances void and bans trans people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity.
The bill came in reaction to a local ordinance in the city of Charlotte, scheduled to come into effect on 1 April, which would have protected LGBT people from discrimination in housing and public accommodation.
Republicans had argued that the ‘public accommodation’ section of the law would allow sex predators into women’s bathrooms – an argument that was used to abolish an anti-discrimination law in Houston last year.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the Republican-dominated North Carolina senate had agreed to repeal HB2 on the grounds that Charlotte would scrap its dividing anti-discrimination ordinance.
The city of Charlotte followed the agreement by voting to reverse its ordinance, but Republicans on Wednesday introduced a last-minute provision to the HB2 repeal which would restrict cities from enacting anti-discrimination policies for several months.
The proposed six-month “cooling-off” period would place a ban on cities making changes to ordinances on issues of employment or public accommodations, essentially leaving HB2 in effect for another six months.
Senator Jeff Jackson, a Charlotte Democrat, said: “This bill breaks this deal. Charlotte would have not repealed its ordinance if this was the deal.”
— Sen. Jeff Jackson (@JeffJacksonNC) December 21, 2016
Following the vote, McCrory’s replacement, Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper, tweeted: “The legislature had a chance to do the right thing for North Carolina today, and they failed.”
The legislature had a chance to do the right thing for North Carolina today, and they failed. pic.twitter.com/kOsYufSucg
— Roy Cooper (@RoyCooperNC) December 22, 2016
The failure to repeal HB2 will be a blow not only to the LGBT community and our allies, but also to the numerous businesses and high-profile figures who have acted in protest against the discriminatory law over the last year.
Since passing HB2, North Carolina has seen a drop in tourism and a loss of business due to the law, with money giant PayPal scrapping plans to expand its business in the state costing hundreds of potential jobs.
Other big names to call out the law include Elton John, Beyoncé, Nick Jonas, Duran Duran and even the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race, while the NBA announced in July that they would relocate their high-profile 2017 All-Star game elsewhere.