Metro Weekly

Boycott and economic fallout from HB 2 may continue in North Carolina

Failure to repeal anti-LGBT law among host of reasons the NAACP is calling for a boycott

Rev. William Barber (right) - Photo: NAACP.

Rev. William Barber (right) – Photo: NAACP.

The NAACP, the oldest civil rights group in the United States, is calling for a boycott of the state of North Carolina after the Republican-dominated legislature took a number of steps to consolidate power, stripping the incoming Democratic governor of much of his authority, and keeping in place the controversial anti-LGBT law known as HB 2. 

The boycott is intended to protest what critics call a power grab by the North Carolina General Assembly. In a special session — reminiscent of the special session that was originally called to pass HB 2 last spring — the Republican-dominated legislature made significant changes that curbed the power of incoming Gov. Roy Cooper (D) by requiring his cabinet to be approved by the state Senate, limiting the number of political appointments he can make, and altering the makeup of state and local Boards of Elections.

The boycott also serves as a protest against Republicans’ decision to derail a deal to repeal the state’s controversial HB 2 law. The law prohibits transgender people from using facilities consistent with their gender identity and nullifies local ordinances that seek to combat anti-LGBT discrimination in housing, employment and access to public accommodations.

Under the terms of the now-failed deal, the Democratic-controlled Charlotte City Council would repeal its nondiscrimination ordinance as a sign of good faith, in return for state lawmakers in Raleigh repealing HB 2. But Republicans introduced their own bill that implemented a 6-month “cooling off” period during which local counties and cities would be prohibited from passing any LGBT-inclusive ordinance, even if access to bathrooms for transgender people was explicitly left out of any such ordinance. That effectively killed the bill, dooming the repeal of the anti-LGBT law, and giving Cooper, who had pushed members of the Charlotte City Council to accept the deal, a significant political loss before he even takes office.

Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP said the proposed boycott would last until HB 2 is repealed, North Carolina’s redistricting process is amended to reduce gerrymandering, and the state reverses the laws passed to limit Cooper’s power, according to Business Insider.

“This legislature is trying to raise a new Confederacy in policy,” Barber said in a press conference last Thursday. “This group doesn’t respect the Constitution. They do not respect the voices of the people. They do not respect the will of the people.”

That means that the Tar Heel State may be in for yet another year of negative consequences for passing HB 2. The law has already cost the state thousands of jobs, the chance to host several college sports championships and the NBA All-Star Game, as well as the related economic opportunities that could have come from hosting such events.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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