UPDATE: House Bill 2 was officially repealed Thursday, after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper officially signed the bill into law.
State legislators in North Carolina have come to an agreement that would see the repeal of the controversial House Bill 2, which prohibits transgender individuals from choosing which bathroom to use based on their gender identity. After debating and voting on the measure Thursday morning, the state senate passed the reapeal, sending it to the House. If it passes there, it will only need North Carolina Governor Ray Cooper’s signature to make it law.
The repeal was spearheaded by Cooper, a Democrat who ran on a pro-LGBTQ platform that included the repeal of HB2. But some LGBTQ groups aren’t convinced that the proposed deal will put an end to discrimination against those who identify as transgender.
The bill still includes some portions from HB2 that prohibit municipalities from passing laws that prevent nondiscrimination against the LGBT community until 2020. Hence criticism like this: “This proposal is a trainwreck that would double down on anti-LGBTQ discrimination,” Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, said in a statement. “North Carolinians want a clean repeal of HB2, and we urge our allies not to sell us out. Those who stand for equality and with LGBTQ people are standing strong against these antics.”
Governor Cooper admitted that the agreement has its flaws but maintains that it’s a step in the right direction for a state whose public standing has suffered since the bill was passed last year. “I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow,” Cooper said. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.”
While the action to remove HB2 is encouraging, the motives behind the proposed repeal are complicated at best. We’d like to believe that it stems from a genuine desire to have equal rights for all, but it’s hard not to see some ulterior motives at play. As Cooper acknowledged in his statement, North Carolina’s reputation took a huge blow when the bill was passed—and so did its revenue.
Last year the NBA pulled the All-Star game from Charlotte because of the bill, costing the state millions in tourism. And it’s no coincidence that news of the repeal broke on the heels of the NCAA’s announcement that no venues in North Carolina would be considered for championship games until HB2 was repealed or replaced.
All told, North Caorlina stands to lose nearly $4 billion by 2028 as a result of the law, according to a report from the Associated Press, proving once again that when it comes to politics, money speaks a lot louder than basic human rights.