- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on protests over a law curtailing rights for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

The leader of a national advocacy group says transgender people used bathrooms aligned with their gender identity during protests in North Carolina’s Legislative Building and weren’t arrested for it, despite a law curtailing LGBT rights.

Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a phone interview Tuesday that the stance of state Republican leaders toward transgender bathroom access is “nonsense.” State law directs transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate in many public buildings.

On Monday, Keisling, who is a transgender woman, used women’s bathrooms near one of the governor’s offices and in the Legislative Building. She said others also used the rest rooms of their gender identity.

Later, Keisling was among demonstrators arrested after entering a legislative leader’s office or refusing to leave when the building closed, but the arrests weren’t related to bathroom access.

12:15 p.m.

North Carolina’s Republican nominee for state attorney general urged a crowd to “keep our state straight,” drawing criticism from the state’s Democratic Party.

State Sen. Buck Newton made the remarks at a rally Monday in support of a state law that limits protections for the LGBT community. Newton shepherded the legislation known as “House Bill 2” through his chamber.

Video of the event shows him urging the crowd to “tell your friends and family who had to work today what this is all about and how hard we must fight to keep our state straight.”

The North Carolina Democratic Party issued a statement calling the comments hateful and discriminatory toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They called for Newton to apologize and for Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to denounce Newton’s remarks.


11:30 a.m.

Dozens of protesters arrested late Monday at North Carolina’s Legislative Building have been released after a day of demonstrations for and against a law limiting protections for LGBT people.

Officers arrested 54 protesters who came to voice opposition to the law late Monday as legislators returned to start their session.

Detention records show the protesters were released late Monday or early Tuesday on a written promise to appear or on bonds that were generally around $1,000. Their court dates are scheduled for early June.

Acting General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock said all would be charged with second-degree trespassing, and would be cited for violating building rules or the fire code. Brock says one also faces a resisting arrest charge.


4:15 a.m.

A day of protests and arrests around North Carolina’s statehouse marked what’s likely to be weeks of impassioned debate over a law limiting protections for LGBT people.

Officers arrested 54 protesters who came voice their opposition to the law Monday as legislators returned to Raleigh to start their legislative session. The state’s Republican leaders said they don’t plan to repeal the law, a stance likely to stoke further demonstrations over the several weeks they’re slated to meet.

The arrests capped a day of dueling demonstrations that included a large protest in favor of the law. Thousands rallied outside the Legislative Building to thank lawmakers for enacting the law.

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