(Adds governor's call for special session)
By Letitia Stein
Dec 19 A North Carolina law limiting bathroom
access for transgender people could be repealed this week after
months of protests and economic boycotts over legislation
decried as discriminatory.
In a surprise development, outgoing Republican Governor Pat
McCrory called the state legislature to convene on Wednesday to
reconsider the law adopted in March baring transgender people
from using government-run restrooms that match their gender
North Carolina's law, the first of its kind, catapulted the
state to the forefront of U.S. culture wars over lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. It has been blamed for
hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses and the
relocation of major sporting events.
Earlier on Monday, the city council in Charlotte, the
state's largest city, voted to remove local non-discrimination
measures that triggered the state's bathroom legislation,
calling for immediately repeal the law known as House Bill
"Now that the Charlotte ordinance has finally been repealed,
the expectation of privacy in our showers, bathrooms and locker
rooms is restored and protected under previous state law,"
McCrory said in a videotaped statement.
He recently lost a razor-thin election seen as a referendum
on the bathroom debate.
McCrory called Charlotte's "sudden reversal with little
notice after the gubernatorial election" proof that opponents
seized the issue for political gain.
Governor-elect Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said he had
assurances from Republican legislative leaders on the special
session to repeal H.B. 2.
"I hope they will keep their word to me," Cooper said in a
statement earlier in the day, noting a repeal will help bring
back jobs and events lost in the boycott.
Amid the fallout, the National Basketball Association and
leading collegiate conferences pulled sporting events from the
state. Performers including Bruce Springsteen, Maroon 5 and
Pearl Jam canceled shows and companies such as PayPal Holdings
and Deutsche Bank scrapped plans to add jobs in the state.
Signaling ongoing discord, Republican legislative leaders
called Cooper dishonest in a statement on Monday afternoon,
while acknowledging they would heed McCrory's call.
Last week, the Republican-dominated legislature passed
measures to curtail the executive authority of the incoming
"This will be an important step for North Carolinians to
move forward, but it never should have come at the cost of
protections for LGBT people living in Charlotte," said Sarah
Gillooly, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union
of North Carolina, one of the groups challenging the law in
(Reporting by Letitia Stein and Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Alan
Crosby and Dan Grebler)