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N.C. House leader: ‘bathroom bill’ repeal deal may never have happened

N.C. House leader: ‘bathroom bill’ repeal deal may never have happened

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina House leader says a state law restricting LGBT anti-discrimination rules may not have been fully repealed even if Charlotte leaders had agreed this month to pull back their city ordinance that led to House Bill 2.

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, recently made the remarks about proposals this month to address the state law in a special legislative session. Moore’s comments raise questions about how realistic a proposed compromise was to end the monthslong fallout over the law. That reaction included cancelled concerts, sporting events and business expansions.

The Republican-led General Assembly passed the law last March in response to the Charlotte City Council approving an ordinance expanding public accommodation protections for people based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Moore, Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and the office of GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, said recently that repeal of H.B. 2 was contingent on Charlotte first doing away with its ordinance. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts quickly said there were no immediately plans to bring the ordinance back before the council, and negotiations fizzled.

Speaking with Time Warner Cable News on Wednesday, Moore said there was “substantial support” among House Republicans for a “reset” before Charlotte’s ordinance in February.

Recalling the situation, Moore said if Charlotte would “back off of that ordinance” the General Assembly would “get rid of most of those provisions and just make sure that we kept in the bathroom piece.”

This refers to a part of House Bill 2 requiring transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in schools, universities and other government buildings that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate.

Asked Thursday by The Associated Press to clarify his comments, Moore said there was legislative support for a full repeal of H.B. 2. But he wrote in an email there were a “number of options on the table dependent upon what Charlotte was willing to do.” He said Roberts “precluded any potential options from being formally considered.”

Talks increased this month following decisions by the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference to move their championship events out of North Carolina this academic year, citing the state law approved last March.

General Assembly leaders and McCrory have been resolute in defending the bathroom provisions, going to federal court to have it declared lawful.

The U.S. Justice Department and civil rights groups have asked judges to strike it down.

House Bill 2 also canceled Charlotte’s ordinance and made clear local and state governments couldn’t approve similar LGBT protections for hotels, restaurants and stores.

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