In March, the North Carolina Legislature passed the most anti-transgender legislation (HB 2) in the country, codifying discrimination into state law and effectively banning transgender North Carolinians from using the restroom that aligns with who they are.
Today, they had the opportunity to begin to repair the damage done. And they failed.
At 10a.m. the North Carolina Legislature met for one of countless costly special sessions this year—called for by outgoing Governor Pat McCrory (R)—to discuss a repeal of HB 2, which earned the state national notoriety and cost upwards of $600 million dollars since it was signed.
Ten hours later, lawmakers voted against the motion to repeal. State-sanctioned discrimination against transgender North Carolinians remains on the books. And towns and cities remain barred from passing local LGBT protections.
By refusing to act and repeal HB 2, North Carolina lawmakers have clearly demonstrated they will not back down from their anti-LGBT agenda—and they have themselves alone to blame for the dire consequences.
In the nine months since HB 2 was first signed into law, North Carolina has faced swift and severe business boycotts. Companies like PayPal, Deutsche Bank, and CoStar froze planned expansions in the state—freezing thousands of new jobs, and hundreds of millions in revenue. The tourism industry was hard hit, losing hundreds of millions in revenue from cancelled entertainment events and conventions. And the basketball-crazy state took a major blow when the NBA and NCAA pulled major championship games.
Then, on Election Day constituents signaled their strong opposition to the law by voting incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory—the man who signed HB 2 and made his support for the law a cornerstone of his reelection campaign—out of office. Meanwhile, other Republicans like President-elect Trump and Sen. Richard Burr carried the state by strong margins.
It’s undeniable: Discrimination comes at a steep price. And with HB 2 still on the books, North Carolina will continue to bear the brunt of economic fallout, political turmoil, and national reputational damage.
Lawmakers in Georgia should take note. Our state narrowly avoided North Carolina’s doomed fate when Republican Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed HB 757, legislation that would have given “license to discriminate” against LGBT Georgians.
And in 2017, we have a choice: Follow in North Carolina’s footsteps—and risk potentially billions of dollars in economic damage. Or drop the anti-LGBT agenda, begin to heal political divisions, and do what’s right for our economy and for our communities.SHARE THIS STORY