****UPDATE: McCrory has called a special session for 10 o’clock Wednesday morning.****
The Charlotte City Council voted unanimously on Monday morning to repeal the non-discrimination ordinance passed earlier this year that led the North Carolina General Assembly to call a special session and pass House Bill 2 into law, which advocates maintain is the worst anti-LGBT legislation in the nation.
Multiple Charlotte media outlets report from the city council meeting that the ordinance repeal is dependent on the North Carolina General Assembly repealing HB2 by December 31.
That would require another special session of the legislature being called to hold a repeal vote.
The General Assembly has been in the national news over the last week for a special session that was called where multiple laws were passed stripping some power away from Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper.
Cooper issued a statement on Monday saying NCGA leadership has told him a repeal vote will be held after Charlotte’s vote. Cooper’s full statement is below:
“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 HB2 in full. I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full.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.”
Republican Governor Pat McCrory announced via a statement from his press office that he would call a special session for the repeal of HB2, but McCrory maintained the issue was a product of the “political left.” The full statement from McCrory’s press secretary Graham Wilson is below:
“Now that the Charlotte ordinance has been repealed, the expectation of privacy in our showers, bathrooms and locker rooms is restored and protected under previous state law. Governor McCrory has always publicly advocated a repeal of the overreaching Charlotte ordinance. But those efforts were always blocked by Jennifer Roberts, Roy Cooper and other Democratic activists. This sudden reversal with little notice after the gubernatorial election sadly proves this entire issue originated by the political left was all about politics and winning the governor’s race at the expense of Charlotte and our entire state. As promised, Governor McCrory will call a special session.”
State senate president pro-tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore released a statement criticizing the timing of Charlotte’s repeal but saying they would act if called on by McCrory.
“Today Roy Cooper and Jennifer Roberts proved what we said was the case all along: their efforts to force men into women’s bathrooms and shower facilities was a political stunt to drive out-of-state money into the governor’s race. For months, we’ve said if Charlotte would repeal its bathroom ordinance that created the problem, we would take up the repeal of HB2. But Roy Cooper is not telling the truth about the legislature committing to call itself into session – we’ve always said that was Gov. McCrory’s decision, and if he calls us back, we will be prepared to act. For Cooper to say otherwise is a dishonest and disingenuous attempt to take credit.”
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said she was grateful of the potential repeal but regretted it was only after the Charlotte ordinance has been repealed.
I am grateful to Governor-elect Cooper, members of the legislature and the Charlotte City Council for working together to find a way to repeal HB2, which has been so harmful to our citizens and our economy.
Unfortunately the agreement hinges on a step backward in Charlotte which emphasizes the need for North Carolina to continue working on ways to respect the dignity and rights of all of our citizens.
Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle said she would be concerned for LGBT residents of North Carolina, even with the repeal of HB2.
We have heard today that the North Carolina Legislature may repeal HB2 this week. Even if this does happen, I remain concerned for our state’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens, who can still be subject to discrimination with regard to public accommodation, employment, and housing without statewide protection. I know that in Carrboro, we will do all we can at the local level to continue to be an inclusive and welcoming community.
Advocacy group Progress NC Action released the following statement:
“We continue to support the full repeal of HB2, but we’ve also seen just in the past week that Sen. Berger and Speaker Moore have no intention of operating in good faith when it comes to special sessions. In order to prevent this from turning into yet another partisan power grab, lawmakers must provide assurances that HB2 will be the only issue lawmakers take up — and that they will not revisit the issue in the future once HB2 is repealed.”
North Carolina Association of Educators president Mark Jewell released the following statement:
“NCAE supports Governor-elect Cooper’s call for an immediate and full repeal of House Bill 2 during a special session. This short-sighted discriminatory law set North Carolina back decades and had a negative impact on our state’s reputation. More importantly it had a devastating impact on students who face a greater chance of violence and bullying. As educators we must make sure our schools are welcoming and safe for everyone. Our state’s leaders must ensure that as well. Today we stand with Governor-elect Cooper for a swift and full repeal to protect our students and to start repairing our state’s damaged reputation.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina has been representing plaintiffs in a challenge to HB2, along with Lambda Legal.
ACLU of NC policy director Sarah Gillooly released the following statement continuing to call for the full repeal of HB2:
“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. 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.”
Southern regional director for Lambda Legal Simone Bell said the repeal of HB2 should not have come at the cost of Charlotte’s ordinance.
“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. LGBT people in North Carolina still need protection from discrimination. The right action is for the North Carolina Legislature to pass a statewide comprehensive civil rights bill that includes full protections for LGBT people.”
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin released the following statement on the potential repeal:
“Governor-elect Cooper has briefed us on a deal he brokered with state lawmakers to reach a complete and total repeal of HB2. 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.”
Equality North Carolina and state House representative Chris Sgro also issued a statement:
“The problem has never been Charlotte. Charlotte’s ordinance was a best practice employed in hundreds of cities across the country. The Charlotte City Council and mayor did the right thing by passing their ordinance — HB2 is wrong. Since its passage, the deeply discriminatory HB2 has hurt our economy and people. Now, the General Assembly must fully repeal HB2 so that we can start the necessary talks for protecting LGBTQ people and bring back businesses across the state. We look forward to working with Governor-elect Cooper to win protections community by community and statewide.”
This post will be updated with additional information.