RALEIGH, N.C. -- The North Carolina General Assembly voted Wednesday afternoon to pass a bill that will overturn Charlotte's expansion of its non-discrimination ordinances, which was slated to take effect April 1.
The House voted 83-25 to strike down the ordinance which contains a controversial provision allowing a transgender person to the use the bathroom that they identify with.
Following the House's vote, the Senate approved the bill 32-0, with Senate Democrats refusing to vote on the bill.
With the General Assembly approving the bill, all this is left is the signing of the bill by Governor Pat McCrory, which he did late-Wednesday night.
After the announcement of McCrory's signing, the ACLU said they're considering legal action.
Governor McCrory released the following statement after signing the bill:
“The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte. This radical breach of trust and security under the false argument of equal access not only impacts the citizens of Charlotte but people who come to Charlotte to work, visit or play. This new government regulation defies common sense and basic community norms by allowing, for example, a man to use a woman's bathroom, shower or locker room.
“While local municipalities have important priorities working to oversee police, fire, water and sewer, zoning, roads, and transit, the mayor and city council took action far out of its core responsibilities. As a result, I have signed legislation passed by a bipartisan majority to stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette which was to go into effect April 1. Although other items included in this bill should have waited until regular session, this bill does not change existing rights under state or federal law.“It is now time for the city of Charlotte elected officials and state elected officials to get back to working on the issues most important to our citizens.”
The provision led to hours of emotional debate from both sides of the aisle. Those who favored striking down the Charlotte ordinance said it put the safety of women and children at risk.
Dean Arp, a Republican Representative from Union County, said, "All North Carolina citizens expect bodily privacy in showers, locker rooms and bathrooms."
Representative Trisha Cotham is a Democrat from Mecklenburg County who opposed the bill.
Speaking on the floor, Cotham said, "We must not allow fear mongering and discrimination against others."
When the measure passed by a wide margin, Cotham called it a sad day for North Carolina.
"In Mecklenburg County we tried really hard to be inclusive and to accept everyone. Now we are having this special session that is a waste of taxpayer dollars and it just strips cities and towns of their rights."
But the House Speaker, Republican Tim Moore, said Charlotte had overstepped its right by passing the ordinance.
"When any local government goes so far as to not protect the privacy rights of folks, then the General Assembly will in fact step in," said Moore.
Congressman Robert Pittenger issued the following statement regarding the North Carolina Legislature's efforts to address the controversial non-discrimination ordinance.
“The legislature is correct in addressing Charlotte’s misguided bathroom ordinance, especially the safety and protection of children and inevitable predicament law enforcement will find themselves in when trying to enforce this policy.”
Roy Cooper also released a statement following the House approval:
I want to share my thoughts on what's happening in the North Carolina Legislature today. At this moment, they are considering an unprecedented bill that would allow discrimination in our state.
We're better than this. Discrimination is wrong, period. That North Carolina is making discrimination part of the law is shameful. It will not only cause real harm to families, but to our economy as well.
We have seen how this played out when Indiana tried it – business left the state, or thought twice about bringing in new jobs, and millions of dollars in revenue was lost.
Governor McCrory started us down this path, promising legislative action for political gain. Now the legislature is taking unprecedented actions that will threaten our economy. He lit the match then stood aside as the fire grew out of control.
It’s a time for leadership, but Governor McCrory is now standing on the sidelines, letting the loudest, most extreme voices run the show. North Carolina deserves better. We need a governor who will put our state first, not wait to see which way the political winds are blowing.This is not the North Carolina I know and love. This is not who we are.
The final legislation is expected to do more than eliminate the right of transgender people in Charlotte to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity.
Draft legislation obtained by The Associated Press would appear to pre-empt completely what Charlotte added to its non-discrimination ordinance and prevent local governments from passing similar acts. It also would require schools, agencies and public college campuses to require communal bathrooms be designated for use only by people based on their biological sex.
House Speaker Tim Moore says he believes Gov. Pat McCrory can support the final product.