RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Time was running short Friday for North Carolina legislators to revise a law limiting protections for the LGBT community, raising questions about whether the state could face further economic fallout from critics including the NBA.
Even if any changes are approved before the weekend, when the legislative session is expected to end, there’s no appetite among lawmakers to undo a requirement that transgender people must use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings. That provision of the law lies at the heart of several legal challenges and has raised some of the biggest objections from equality advocates.
The law also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections.
Republican legislators have held closed-door meetings to consider adjusting the law and gauging whether they have enough votes to get the legislation to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk. McCrory has urged lawmakers to repeal a provision that prevented workers from using state law to sue over workplace discrimination.
McCrory met privately with Democratic lawmakers on Thursday to discuss the law, a day after he sat down with Republican legislators.
The situation remained fluid Friday afternoon, as both chambers were holding floor sessions with an eye toward wrapping up for the year.
Pressure to change the law has come from several quarters including the NBA, which has been weighing whether to keep the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte. Commissioner Adam Silver said this month that progress was needed toward changing the law this summer to ensure the event stays in the city.
The league issued a joint statement late Thursday with the Charlotte Hornets saying they were doubtful that proposed changes would go far enough.
“We have been engaged in dialogue with numerous groups at the city and state levels, but we do not endorse the version of the bill that we understand is currently before the legislature,” the statement said.
The law also throws into question the state’s viability as a host for NCAA sporting events. Weeks after North Carolina’s law was enacted, the association passed a measure requiring host sites to demonstrate that they are “free of discrimination.”
Entertainers including Bruce Springsteen have canceled concerts to protest the law, while scores of business leaders signed a letter seeking its repeal. Rallies to support the law, meanwhile, drew thousands of conservatives to Raleigh.
Advocacy groups led by the Human Rights Campaign signed a letter Friday saying that nothing short of a full repeal would fix the law.
“Any attempt to pass additional discriminatory legislation will be seen for what it is — a shameful political ploy designed to give some lawmakers cover as the state continues to discriminate against its LGBTQ citizens,” said JoDee Winterhof, a senior official overseeing political affairs for the HRC.
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