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Politics

As Lawmakers Return, Opposing Sides Rally On HB 2

  Supporters and opponents of House Bill 2 both rallied near the legislature Monday, as lawmakers returned for the new session. And as they returned, four Democratic representatives introduced a bill to repeal the controversial law.

The repeal would be effective March 23, the day lawmakers adopted and Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB 2.  The new bill also would allocate $545,000 to pay for the state Human Rights Commission. 

Republican leaders in the General Assembly have already said they won't repeal the bill. 

The law excludes lesbian, gay and transgender people from state and local antidiscrimination protections, and prohibits transgender people from using restrooms of their gender identity.  

Outside the legislature, opponents rallied then delivered a repeal petition to the governor, with nearly 190,000 signatures.  [Gov. McCrory's office issued a statement accusing HB 2 opponents of "grossly misrepresenting" the petition, and saying the "overwhelming majority of signatures were from out of state."]

Speakers at the rally included the Rev.Jasmin Beach-Ferrara, of the Campaign for Southern Equality, who said:  “When a law seeks to undermine the fundamental truth that all people are equal when a law exists solely to demean one group of people, it is by definition, immoral.”

TV station WRAL in Raleigh live-streamed and live-blogged both rallies.

At midday, hundreds of HB 2 supporters gathered to urge lawmakers to resist pressure to repeal the law.  The rally was organized by the Keep NC Safe Coalition, which includes conservative and Christian groups.

One speaker said it protects women and children: “What could possibly be more phony or hypocritical than a sexual predator that passes himself off as a woman, exploits a loophole in a city ordinance like the one passed in Charlotte, positions himself in a restroom and preys on women and children.”

The General Assembly held a special one-day session March 23 to pass the law, which overturns a new Charlotte antidiscrimination ordinance.

House Bill 2 excludes lesbian, gay and transgender people from state and local antidiscrimination protections and prohibits transgender people from using restrooms of their gender identity – a provision the Charlotte ordinance included.  

The law has brought a backlash from political leaders, entertainers, business and sports groups, and large companies, some of whom have canceled planned investments in North Carolina.

RELATED LINKS

Text of the HB 2 repeal bill on NCLeg.net

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