McCrory signs bill to undo Charlotte's non-discrimination ordinance

Published: Mar. 23, 2016 at 4:57 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2016 at 3:27 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has signed a bill passed by the NC Senate Wednesday, striking down the Charlotte bathroom ordinance. Democratic senators walked out following the 32-0 vote.

The North Carolina House passed House Bill 2 to repeal portions of Charlotte's non-discrimination ordinance that was passed last month. The bill passed with a 83-25 vote around 3:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon before going to the Senate.

The bill was then sent to Governor McCrory's desk. He signed the bill just after 10 p.m.

The discussion in the full House followed more than an hour of conversation in the judiciary committee Wednesday morning.

The North Carolina General Assembly met Wednesday to vote on proposed legislation which includes provisions seeking to overturn parts of the ordinance and several unrelated provisions.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said she strongly disagrees with the bill's passage.

"I am appalled with the General Assembly's actions today. It has passed a bill that is worse than what we have seen in Indiana and Georgia and other states," Roberts said. "This legislation is literally the most anti-LGBT legislation in the country. It sanctions discrimination against the LGBT community."

"Discrimination is never right and discrimination is not good for business. This is a bad bill for the Tarheel State," the mayor continued.

"The General Assembly is on the wrong side of progress... it is on the wrong side of history," Roberts said. "These are not the values of Charlotte and they are not the values of the business community of Charlotte and North Carolina."

The ordinance, passed last month by a 7-4 vote from the Charlotte City Council, broadly defines how businesses must treat gay, lesbian and transgender customers. But as in other cities recently, the debate has focused on bathrooms.

RELATED: Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance passes 7-4

After its passage, several high ranking North Carolina Republicans, including Governor Pat McCrory, have voiced concerns about people having the ability to choose public restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

"I think [it] breaks the basic standards, and frankly expectations, of privacy that all individuals - men and women and children alike - would expect in a restroom facility or a locker room facility," McCrory said during a one-on-one interview with WBTV last month. "I think they are creating a lot of potential problems."

RELATED: McCrory: Non-discrimination ordinance breaks 'expectation of privacy' in restroom

While McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, says the ordinance was an overreach by the council, backers of the state bill contend it will bring uniform rules across the state.

Supporters of the ordinance say that it provides equal protection for transgender individuals.

McCrory says the ordinance has "ramifications beyond the city of Charlotte."

WBTV obtained a copy of the proposed bill, entitled "An Act to Provide for Single Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations," Tuesday night.

RELATED: Proposed 'bathroom' bill addresses bathrooms, minimum wage, workplace discrimination

The House version of the bill is sponsored, in part, by Representative Dan Bishop, of Mecklenburg County, who says the Charlotte City Council passed a law of "social engineering."

During debates on Wednesday, several people mentioned that the non-discrimination language doesn't include sexual orientation or disability, which they say presents a big problem.

The legislation requires that multi-occupancy bathrooms be limited to just one gender, using anatomy and birth certificates as a guide and applies to executive branch agencies controlled by the Governor as well as Council of State members and the UNC System.

A provision in the five-page bill allows school districts to use single occupancy bathrooms to make accommodations for students in special circumstances.

DOCUMENT: Click here to read the full bill

In addition to the provisions of the bill seeking to repeal the bathroom-related portions of Charlotte's non-discrimination ordinance, the bill also addresses several workplace issues.

The ordinance, if it stood, would have taken place April 1.

While many of the top leaders immediately called for a special session on the ordinance, McCrory hesitated to call the session with the hopes of addressing it during the NCAG's short session in April.

The special session was announced Monday after three-fifths of the members in both chambers approved such a measure.

RELATED: Poll: 25% say lawmakers should override non-discrimination ordinance

A spokesman for McCrory said the governor had concerns that lawmakers also planned to address other legislative proposals in addition a measure overturning Charlotte's non-discrimination ordinance.

The proposed legislation does include elements outside of the ordinance, including minimum wage, regulation of discriminatory practices in employment and issues of public accommodation in the jurisdiction of the General Assembly.

Legislative staff estimates it costs roughly $42,000 extra dollars every day the General Assembly is in session.

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