Brian Gomsak/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign
Republican lawmakers and the Democratic governor of North Carolina say they’ve reached a deal to repeal the controversial “bathroom bill” that restricts the abilities of transgender people to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity.
But LGBT activists quickly denounced the proposed bill, which would limit the ability of local officials to extend protections to transgender people for at least four years.
The measure is set to be debated and voted on Thursday by state lawmakers, though it’s reportedly not sure to pass. Democrats are divided on the bill, WUNC’s Jeff Tiberii reports, and the vote is expected to be close.
Republican leaders Rep. Tim Moore and Sen. Phil Berger of North Carolina’s General Assembly said in a statement late Wednesday: “Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy.”
According to Moore and Berger, the bill leaves regulation of “multi-occupancy facilities to the state,” and puts in place a “temporary moratorium on local ordinances similar to Charlotte’s until December 1, 2020 to allow federal litigation to play out.”
Democrat Roy Cooper, who eked out a win over former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in November’s election, said he supports the bill. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” the governor said in a statement.
The agreement was reached shortly before a deadline which would have caused North Carolina to lose the option of hosting NCAA basketball championships, Reuters reports.
The college athletic association and other civic and business groups had taken steps to sanction or boycott North Carolina because of the law.
Lawmakers passed HB2 in March 2016 under Gov. McCrory. It requires transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate in government buildings. The law also limits localities’ ability to pass nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
State lawmakers passed the measure in response to a Charlotte ordinance that would have protected the rights of transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.
Chad Griffin, president of the LGBT rights organization Human Rights Campaign, tweeted that the deal was a “state-wide prohibition on equality” and “doubles down on discrimination.”
Any ally of the LGBTQ community cannot support this new version of #HB2. There will be political consequences for those who do, Dem and Rep.
— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) March 30, 2017
Previous deals to repeal HB2 have fallen apart.
Earlier this week, The Associated Press estimated that a continuation of HB2 would cost North Carolina $3.76 billion over the course of 12 years.