Major city mayors reiterate travel bans to North Carolina over HB2 following ‘deal’ to repeal

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The mayors of various major US cities have reiterated bans on public funded travel bans to North Carolina over its newly-repealed HB2 bathroom ban, saying a “deal” to repeal it does not go far enough.

The state last week voted to repeal the HB2 bathroom law – but has also banned local authorities from outlawing LGBT discrimination.

LGBT activists have condemned the legislation, which stops local authorities from passing anti-LGBT-discrimination laws until December 2020. Activists and campaign groups have also criticised the “deal” to repeal the bill, saying it doesn’t go far enough and only a full repeal will be enough.

The mayors and council members of Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City, all reiterated travel bans on North Carolina.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said: “Every American deserves to live free of discrimination, and the law signed last week by Governor Cooper does nothing to protect the rights and dignity of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Cities should have every opportunity to make policies that affirm values of equal justice, protect people from hate and bias, and uphold the Constitutional right to self-determination. Until that is made real in North Carolina, I urge the City Council to extend L.A.’s ban on non-essential travel to the state by City employees. I would sign that ban right away, and will continue doing everything in my power to make sure that Angelenos’ tax dollars are never spent to support bigotry based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Adds Santa Fe Mayor Javier González: “Cities are closer to the people they serve than any other form of government, giving us both the ability and the duty to hear and take real action on their concerns — especially when they involve safety. In Santa Fe, we stood up to ensure that every individual, regardless of their gender identity, will feel safe here. North Carolina shouldn’t stand in the way of their cities who want to do thes ame, and until they make it right we have no intention of changing the ban on non-essential travel that is our current policy.”

Cincinnati City Councilmember Chris Seelbach tweeted: “North Carolina’s ‘repeal’ of HB2 is not a repeal – Just renaming of same bad law. Cincinnati will continue to boycott.”

And Salt Lake City mayor Jackie Biskupski also tweeted: “HB2 repeal harms LGBT folks in NC and limits good cities like Charlotte,” adding that the Salt Lake City travel ban would remain in effect.

Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who signed the state’s anti-trans bathroom bill, has celebrated a “deal” to repeal the law as a loss for the LGBT+ community.

Former Governor McCrory, who signed the bill last year, and one of its most vocal supporters, has now spoken out to celebrate the “deal”.

Taking aim at the Human Rights Campaign, which described the deal to repeal the bill as a “disaster”, McCrory said: “The good news is this: the HRC lost the battle… With their resources and power and money, and their trying to get some other corporations to help support them in the battle…[The] fact of the matter is, they did not get a full repeal of HB2.”

HB2, which came into force a year ago, forced people to use the bathroom of the gender they were assigned at birth.

It was one of the most controversial state laws in recent times and led to many boycotts from companies, music stars and sports organisations.

An Associated Press investigation showed the state was set to lose more than $3.76 billion over the next 12 years because of the law.

Hours before the state was would have lost the possibility of hosting prestigious national college basketball matches, Republican lawmakers and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper announced a deal.

Today, the North Carolina Senate voted 32-16 to pass the bill, and the House voted it through by 70 to 48.

Governor Roy Cooper has already signed the bill.

Officially called House Bill 142, the act will also prohibit local authorities from regulating multi-occupancy toilets, showers or changing facilities, leaving it up to the state.

The fact that local authorities are barred from making anti-LGBT discrimination illegal until 2020 prompted an outpouring of anger from many prominent LGBT activists, with Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro calling it a “fake repeal”.

Governor Cooper, who ran for election on a platform of repealing HB2, said: “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals HB2 and begins to repair our reputation.”

In a joint statement, Majority Republican leaders Tim Moore and Phil Berger said: “Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy.”

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said the repeal bill was a “disaster” which only “doubles down on discrimination” of LGBT people in the state.

“All lawmakers, D and R, must reject #HB2 ‘deal,’ he wrote on Twitter. “Stand strong with the LGBTQ community. We will be watching who leads & who sells us out.”

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