Confusion And Disarray Ahead Of Special Session
State lawmakers were scheduled to begin discussing the repeal of House Bill 2 at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, but shortly after the House and Senate gaveled themselves in, both went into recess, postponing discussion until well into the afternoon.
The cause for the delay was not immediately clear, though a number of lawmakers have expressed concern over a number of media reports from late Tuesday night revealing the Charlotte City Council had only repealed parts of the nondiscrimination ordinance, not the ordinance in its entirety. The council only threw out portions banning discrimination in places of public accommodation -- like hotels and restaurants -- as well as taxis and limos.
The council did not repeal the portion banning discrimination by businesses that contract with the city. The council added language in February preventing those businesses from discriminating against their vendors or customers for being LGBT. City Attorney Bob Hagemann said HB2 never invalidated that portion, so the city left it unaddressed.
At an emergency meeting Wednesday morning, the city council took steps to remedy that. In a 7-2 vote, the council passed a second repeal of its nondiscrimination ordinance, this time including protections for sexual orientation and gender identity that apply to business that contract with the city.
Still, Republicans were unnerved by Tuesday’s media reports. In a statement posted late Tuesday night, Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the state GOP, said HB2 repeal efforts had been “seriously harmed” by city leaders and Governor-Elect Roy Cooper.
“Roy Cooper and Charlotte City Council Democrats lied directly to the people Of (sic) North Carolina, the Legislature and Gov. McCrory about repealing the Charlotte City Council ordinance that caused HB2,” he said, “The HB2 blood is now stain soaked on their hands and theirs alone.”
Republican Lt. Gov Dan Forest also released a statement early Wednesday morning expressing a stalwart resistance to repeal efforts.
“No economic, political or ideological pressure can convince me that what is wrong it right,” he said, “It will always be wrong for men to have access to women’s showers and bathrooms. If HB 2 is repealed, there will be nothing on the books to prevent another city or county to take us down this path again.”