A pair of Republican legislators are the first to break ranks with their General Assembly colleagues on the issue of House Bill 2.
Republican state senators Tamara Barringer of Wake County and Rick Gunn of Alamance County walked back their support for HB2 this week, issuing statements that call for consideration to repeal the contentious law.
WUNC's Jeff Tiberii speaks to Wake Forest Economics Professor Todd McFall about the potential long-lasting damage, and what may, or may not, happen moving forward.
Until this week, Republican lawmakers have vocally defended the law, which requires people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate and limits anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.
However, the NCAA earlier this week pulled seven championships and events from North Carolina, including men's basketball tournament dates. The Atlantic Coast Conference followed suit days later, pulling 10 neutral-site championships from the state, including the lucrative football championship.
Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republican lawmakers have blamed politics for the pushback, and have showed no indications they would back down from the bill. The comments from Barringer and Gunn – both in moderate districts and facing formidable challenges this fall – are the first from Republicans to publicly call for a rollback on the law.
"With the most recent announcements impacting our state, there are simply too many examples of very sad and unfortunate ramifications and unintended effects of HB2," said Barringer in a statement.
Statement from Tamara Barringer (R-Wake)
"Whenever legislative bodies rush to judgment on important public policy decisions, there are unintended consequences. With the most recent announcements impacting our state, there are simply too many examples of very sad and unfortunate ramifications and unintended effects of HB2. I do not want men or boys legally to be able to share the same locker rooms or bathrooms with my 16-year-old daughter and her classmates or teammates. However, if we want to preserve the proud heritage of North Carolina, it is time for our leadership to consider a substantial and immediate repeal of HB2."
Statement from Rick Gunn (R-Alamance, Randolph)
"I’m opposed to giving men access to women’s and girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms, but I am also concerned about the impact HB2 is having on our state and the Triad — especially NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference athletic championship events — and I think it is time we give serious consideration to modifying or possibly repealing HB2. It is time for the federal courts to protect women’s and girls’ privacy and strike down President Obama’s bathroom sharing mandate."