Protesters and lawmakers clashed Monday over a law barring people from using public restrooms of the opposite sex as the North Carolina General Assembly began a legislative session.
House Democrats filed a bill to repeal HB2, which they said discriminates against transgender people. The law’s detractors pointed to a tidal wave of opposition from more than 100 major corporations, some of which have curtailed commercial activity in the state in response to the legislation.
“We must act immediately to repeal this harmful legislation right now, before the pushback nationally does real and long-term harm to our state,” said Rep. Darren Jackson, a Democrat and the bill’s primary sponsor, as reported by WNCN.
Republicans in the assembly presented a united front. House Speaker Tim Moore issued a statement de-emphasizing the repeal effort, saying the bill would go through the normal legislative process.
“Rep. Jackson’s bill will be assigned to committee and will be treated the same as any other bill that is filed,” Mr. Moore said. “Our caucus will discuss and plan this bills’ best route through the House legislative process.”
Protesters greeting the arrival of the legislative session were less equanimous.
More than 1,000 demonstrators both supporting and opposing the law rallied in downtown Charlotte to voice their opinions to the assembly.
Supporters of the measure thanked the lawmakers for enacting a measure to protect women and children, while detractors held up signs with messages such as “Trans People Under Attack: We’ve Got Your Back.”
At least a dozen HB2 protesters who entered the General Assembly and crowded outside of the speaker’s office were arrested, according to WNCN. It was not clear whether they would face charges.