Deep divide stops effort to repeal North Carolina LGBT law

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Latest on efforts to repeal House Bill 2 in North Carolina (all times local):

6 a.m.

A bid to repeal a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people has fallen apart because of deep divides over partisan politics and transgender rights.

North Carolina legislators tried and failed Wednesday to push through a deal to scrap the law called House Bill 2 and went home.

The law omits LGBT people from state anti-discrimination protections, bars local governments from going further, and orders transgender people to use bathrooms and showers in schools and government buildings that align with the sex on their birth certificate.

The law has become part of a new front in the U.S. culture wars involving transgender rights and bathrooms. Big business, conventions, and sporting events have stayed away from North Carolina in protest.

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7:35 p.m.

A deal has fallen apart to undo the North Carolina law known as the "bathroom bill" in a sign of the state's bitter political divide.

The state's legislature was called into a special session Wednesday to consider repealing the law known as HB2 after months of pressure, including lost jobs and canceled sporting events and concerts.

But the Republican-controlled legislature showed once again that it preferred to go its own way.

The latest special session was called by Gov. Pat McCrory after Charlotte gutted a local nondiscrimination ordinance that Republicans had blamed for necessitating the statewide law.

Among other things, HB2 requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificate in many public buildings.

NC Gov. Elect Roy Cooper speaks out: 

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5:50 p.m.

Two openly LGBT members of the North Carolina House are pleading with their colleagues to repeal a state law limiting nondiscrimination protections before the General Assembly adjourns its special session.

Democrats Reps. Chris Sgro (skro) of Greensboro and Cecil Brockman of High Point spoke late Wednesday as House members considered and passed a resolution laying out when the legislature would adjourn for good.

Republicans have been unable so far to craft legislation repealing House Bill 2 that enough of their House members would support. This has led to hours of waiting and closed-door meetings by House and Senate members.

Sgro said he can't go home in good conscience without the full and unequivocal repeal of HB2. Sgro is also head of the gay rights groups Equality North Carolina. Brockman said the law has been a disaster for the state. Corporate CEOs, entertainers and sports leagues have opposed HB2 as well.

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5 p.m.

Crowds at the North Carolina legislature are keeping watch on action to repeal a law that limits protections for LGBT citizens.

A repeal bill was seemingly on its way to passage in the state Senate on Wednesday before a packed visitors gallery and overflow observers watching through glass walls. The mood was much more docile than the angry demonstrations of last week.

That's when Republican legislators pushed through surprise measures that stripped incoming Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper of a range of powers enjoyed by outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

Sixty-six-year-old retiree Jennifer Bremer of Chapel Hill witnessed last week's tumult and wanted to see whether lawmakers really repealed the controversial law known as House Bill 2. She says there haven't been any surprises so far.

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4:45 p.m.

Debate has been delayed on Republican legislation to repeal North Carolina's law limiting LGBT protections and directing which restrooms transgender people can use after Democrats spoke out against the measure.

The legislation considered Wednesday would get rid of the law known as House Bill 2. But it also would prevent local governments from approving ordinances affecting public accommodations and access to restrooms for six months.

Democrats oppose the moratorium as falling short of a complete repeal. Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham says people are worried the moratorium will become a permanent ban.

Senate leader Phil Berger says the bill takes the law back to where it was before Charlotte approved a nondiscrimination ordinance that led to HB2.

Senate Republicans are in a private meeting deciding what to do next.

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3:15 p.m.

Perhaps North Carolina's most influential politician is introducing legislation to repeal a state law that has cost the state jobs and millions of dollars.

State Senate leader Phil Berger is the primary sponsor of legislation filed Wednesday that would repeal the law passed in March dictating which bathroom transgender people must use and limiting LGBT protections.

The bill adds a wrinkle: It would block local governments from passing ordinances regulating employment practices or public accommodations related to restrooms, showers or changing facilities for six months.

Republican lawmakers say they passed the law only after Charlotte expanded nondiscrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations. Charlotte's City Council on Monday and again Wednesday voted to eliminate the ordinance.

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