RALEIGH–In 2016, North Carolina passed House Bill 2, a bill that legally mandated that people use restrooms and changing rooms that corresponded with the sex listed on their birth certificates. The law was immediately labeled as controversial, and it was protested by citizens and businesses alike.
After a year and many protests nationwide, including the NCAA’s decision to remove North Carolina from its basketball tournament competition sites, the General Assembly revisited the bill.
The new version of House Bill 2, House Bill 142, repeals the bathroom provision that was controversial in the bill’s original version. Public Facilities no longer ban Transgenders from using the bathroom and changing room of the gender in which they identify. However, the compromise also leaves regulation of bathroom laws in control of the state Legislature and prevents local governments from making their own rules regarding restrooms until 2020.
The compromise bill brought back some businesses, most notably the NCAA, but the law is still under attack by many groups who believe the bill does not go far enough to protect LGBTQ citizens. According to the News and Observer, House Bill 142 only changes one of the bill’s four parts. Hotels and restaurants can still discriminate against people, and LGBTQ people can still be legally fired from jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Current NC Gov. Roy Cooper calls the bill a “compromise,” and he has been heavily criticized for signing it. An editorial published in The Charlotte Observer says, “House Bill 142 literally does not do one thing to protect the LGBT community and locks in HB2’s most basic and offensive provision.” The editorial also claims the bill is betrayal of promises that Gov. Cooper made to the LGBTQ community.
For the moment, the immediate impact of HB2 has softened. The NCAA announced that it would allow the basketball tournament to return to NC after the compromise. According to CBS News, the NCAA makes $900 million off of the NCAA basketball tournament. Forbes puts the figure over $1 billion. The Hartford Courant alleges that NC stands to lose $20 million in revenue from the lost tournament games and six other championships that were pulled from NC in 2016.
The money that NC lost in 2016 is sure to return, but the state still faces an uphill battle with LGBTQ rights activists.