Critics of North Carolina transgender law deliver petitions seeking repeal
Opponents of a North Carolina law that restricts bathroom choices for transgender people said they have nearly 180,000 signatures on petitions demanding its repeal as lawmakers return on Monday for a legislative session receiving national scrutiny.
The law’s critics said North Carolina’s reputation and economy have taken a major hit in the past month after it became the first state to require transgender people to use public restrooms that match the sex on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.
“Our state is a state of crisis,” Chris Sgro, executive director of the Equality North Carolina advocacy group, said at a news conference in Raleigh ahead of the petitions being delivered to Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s office.
Groups opposing the law argue it infringes on the rights of the transgender community and limits government protections against discrimination for gays and lesbians.
Democratic President Barack Obama, business leaders and entertainers including Bruce Springsteen also have called for the measure to be overturned.
Due to the controversy, companies and associations have relocated conventions and halted job-creating investment projects initially slated for North Carolina.
There is a also growing list of performers who have canceled concerts, including the Blue Man Group which on Friday announced it would cancel its shows in Charlotte in June in protest against the law.
Republican lawmakers in the state so far have shown little willingness to back down.
Supporters of the law, which was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature during a one-day special session in March, said they expected a large turnout at their own rally scheduled for noon in Raleigh.
The law is needed, they say, to guard privacy rights and keep women and children safe from sexual predators in bathrooms.
“Our goal is to show the nation what it looks like to see churches, families and people from all political parties, in unity, praying for our leaders and asking them to continue to protect our families,” said a statement from the NC Values Coalition.
(Writing by Colleen Jenkins Editing by W Simon)