CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte City Council unanimously voted Monday to repeal the non-discrimination ordinance with an ultimatum of state lawmakers repealing House Bill 2 by December 31.
BREAKING: City of Charlotte voting to remove ordinances that have been invalidated by state & urging legislature to repeal HB2 @wcnc— Mark Boyle (@WCNCmboyle) December 19, 2016
The bathroom ordinance was passed in early 2016 that led to the General Assembly convening a special session to pass House Bill 2.
The city council released a statement following their vote saying that they recognize the "ongoing negative economic impact" resulting from the passage of the non-discrimination ordinance and House Bill 2. "In order to continue thriving as an inclusive community and compete for high paying jobs and world-class events, the City and State must take action together to restore our collective reputation."
The statement said the city is deeply dedicated to protecting the rights of all people from discrimination.
"We've been working on a solution to this with our friends in Raleigh for the better part of six months," said Charlotte councilman Kenny Smith. "Today was the day that we opted to make the move as a council to do our part and that is to invalidate ordinances, specifically the bathroom bill."
Throughout his campaign, Governor-elect Roy Cooper stressed the importance of repealing the controversial HB2. He responded to the repeal of the ordinance saying, "Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore assured me that as a result of Charlotte's vote, a special session will be called for Tuesday to repeal HB2 in full."
"I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full," Cooper said. "Full repeal will help to bring jobs, sports and entertainment events back and will provide the opportunity for strong LGBT protections in our state."
The non-discrimination ordinance was passed in February 2016 and aimed to amend the city code, adding marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to the list of protected characteristics in commercial non-discrimination, public accommodations, and passenger vehicle-for-hire ordinances.
The ordinance has been a battle for McCrory. The city's anti-discrimination ordinance led to the passage of House Bill 2, which nullified it.
McCrory has continually defended House Bill 2 and pointed the blame on Charlotte's mayor, Jennifer Roberts, for the decision made by the NCAA and the ACC to pull Championship games from North Carolina. House Bill 2 has cost the Queen City millions. In November the Charlotte Chamber estimated HB2's economic impact at $285 million in addition to a loss of more than 1,300 Charlotte-area jobs.
Governor McCrory's Press Secretary, Graham Wilson, responded to the city's repeal Monday by releasing a statement which said, "Governor McCrory has always publicly advocated a repeal of the overreaching Charlotte ordinance. But those efforts were always blocked by Jennifer Roberts, Roy Cooper and other Democratic activists."
"This sudden reversal with little notice after the gubernatorial election sadly proves this entire issue originated by the political left was all about politics and winning the governor’s race at the expense of Charlotte and our entire state. As promised, Governor McCrory will call a special session."