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As NC General Assembly weighs HB2 repeal, LGBT advocates urge for statewide protections again discrimination

Update: The Charlotte City Council voted 7-2 Wednesday morning to scrap their entire nondiscrimination ordinance, setting up the General Assembly to follow thru in its special session and repeal #HB2.

Members of the state legislature return to Raleigh today for a fifth special session – this one geared at repealing House Bill 2. The state law, signed by Gov. Pat McCrory in March, bans transgender people from using the restroom of their choice  and prohibits local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people.

Media reports overnight indicate a deal to fully repeal HB2 may be in jeopardy as some state lawmakers now say the Charlotte City Council didn’t go far enough in a vote to repeal its non-discrimination ordinance Monday.

The Charlotte Observer’s Jim Morrill explains:

Council members did remove the part of its ordinance that dealt with public accommodations, prohibiting business such as stores and restaurants from discriminating against people based on categories such as race and religion – and also sexual orientation and gender identity. That part of the ordinance included the provision that related to transgender people being allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

The council left some parts of the ordinance intact. The city’s ordinance still prohibits the city from hiring contractors who have been found to discriminate against a subcontractor because of an employee’s race or religion – as well as because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

That may be a sticking point for some conservative lawmakers during this special session.

At the same time, the ACLU of North Carolina and Lambda Legal, who are challenging the law in federal court, want more than just HB2’s repeal:

“LGBT rights aren’t a bargaining chip. Charlotte shouldn’t have had to repeal its ordinance in exchange for H.B. 2 to be repealed,” said Simone Bell, the Southern Regional Director for Lambda Legal. “LGBT people in North Carolina still need protection from discrimination. The right action is for the North Carolina Legislature to pass a statewide comprehensive civil rights bill that includes full protections for LGBT people.”

It’s unclear whether HB2 opponents will argue for such protections during this special session, or wait until January when lawmakers are back for the long session.

The House and Senate convene this morning at 10:00 a.m.

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As NC General Assembly weighs HB2 repeal, LGBT advocates urge for statewide protections again discrimination