North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory wants to roll back some provisions of North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill” — a controversial piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation that has drawn massive protests and even caused some businesses to scuttle plans to invest in North Carolina.
On March 23, McCrory signed House Bill 2, a law that removed the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from North Carolina’s anti-discrimination statutes, according to The Charlotte Observer. The practical effect of that law means that landlords would be allowed to deny housing to — or even evict — LGBTQ individuals, and that employers could refuse to hire — or even fire — individuals based on their sexual identity.
But the most controversial aspect of the bill — and the part that drew the most interest from supporters and opponents alike — was the provision that requires individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender assigned at birth, rather than their gender identity. This provision earned House Bill 2 the derisive nickname “Bathroom Bill.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 12, 2016
The “bathroom bill” sparked outrage, inside and outside of North Carolina. Musicians — including Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen, according to Fox News — canceled upcoming concerts in North Carolina. Businesses, including PayPal, scrapped plans to invest in the state.
In response to the backlash, on Tuesday McCrory announced that he intends to scale back at least some provisions of the controversial law.
The key aspect of the bill that McCrory intends to repeal — a change described by The Spreadit as “tiny” — would allow North Carolinians who have been fired from their jobs for being LGBTQ to sue their employers in court.
“I will immediately seek legislation in the upcoming short session to reinstate the right to sue for discrimination in North Carolina state courts. Simply put, I have listened to the people of North Carolina, and the people of North Carolina are entitled to both privacy and equality. We can and we must achieve both of these goals. Now, I know these actions will not totally satisfy everyone, but the vast majority of our citizens want common-sense solutions to complex issues.”
Despite McCrory’s intentions, however, he may not be able to accomplish his planned change to the law via executive order; according to the Wall Street Journal, that change would have to go through North Carolina’s legislature.
McCrory is also leaving intact the most controversial provision of the bill — the requirement that individuals use the bathroom that corresponds to their sex assigned at birth, calling the requirement “common-sense.”
Sarah Warbelow, spokerperson for pro-LGBTQ group Human Rights Campaign, says McCrory is “doubling down” on the bathroom provisions of the law.
“The governor’s action are an insufficient response to a terrible, misguided law that continues to harm LGBT people on a daily basis. The North Carolina Legislature must act to right this wrong as swiftly as possible.”
Inside and outside of North Carolina, lawmakers and their constituents continue to grapple with the issue of which bathrooms transgender individuals should use.
— CBC News (@CBCNews) April 13, 2016
According to a July, 2015, Time report, conservatives argue that so-called “bathroom bills” are necessary for public safety — for example, to keep male sexual predators out of women’s bathrooms. As one Maryland woman put it, “I don’t want men who think they are women in my bathrooms.”
However, the LGBTQ community insists that there is no evidence that allowing transgender individuals access to bathrooms that correspond to their sexual identity leads to harassment or other problems in bathrooms and locker rooms.
Do you think Governor Pat McCrory needs to change North Carolina’s “bathroom bill”?
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]