North Carolina lawmakers mull repeal of transgender bathroom law
A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access is seen in the bathroom stalls at the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo

The North Carolina legislature was due to meet on Wednesday to consider repealing a law restricting bathrooms access for transgender people that has sparked months of protests from critics who see it as an overt act of anti-gay discrimination.


State lawmakers were summoned back to the capitol after outgoing Republican Governor Pat McCrory called a special session to reconsider the law, which made the state a battleground in the U.S. culture wars over lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

North Carolina in March became the first state to bar transgender people from government-run restrooms that match their gender identity. Pushback against the law has been blamed for hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses, including the relocation of major sporting events.

A surprise push seeking its repeal emerged this week.

On Monday, the city council in Charlotte, the state's largest city, voted to remove local non-discrimination measures that triggered the state's bathroom legislation, while calling for the immediate repeal of the law.

The move persuaded McCrory, who recently lost a tight election seen a referendum on the bathroom law, to act on a longstanding pledge to call lawmakers back to reconsider the issue.

Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper, a fierce critic of the bathroom restrictions, said on Monday that he had Republican assurances for a repeal after Charlotte's action.

Yet supporters of the measure fired back with a lobbying effort to convince conservative lawmakers to block a repeal.

Lawmakers were scheduled to take up the issue beginning at 10 a.m. EST.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Tom Brown)