RALEIGH, N.C. — A gay rights group in North Carolina says Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s new proposal to get rid of House Bill 2, better known as the “bathroom bill,” which limits LGBT rights and directs transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates, contains unnecessary additions.
Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro told reporters Tuesday he doesn’t support Cooper’s repeal offer to GOP lawmakers because other parts of the legislation are a distraction to throwing out the law.
The proposal includes increasing penalties for crimes committed in public restrooms and forcing local governments to give state legislators 30 days of notice before seeking ordinances covering sexual orientation and gender identity.
Sgro says Charlotte city leaders took over a year to weigh an anti-discrimination ordinance before they approved it. He says new penalties aren’t needed because LGBT people are not a public safety risk.
Equality North Carolina was one of Cooper’s strongest supporters in last year’s race for governor.
North Carolina’s most powerful state senator also isn’t impressed with the legislation.
A spokeswoman for Republican Senate leader Phil Berger said Tuesday that Cooper’s proposal does nothing to address privacy concerns of women and young girls who don’t want to share restrooms and locker rooms with men.
HB2 supporters have argued that letting people choose public bathrooms based on gender identity could be used as a pretense by sexual predators. The U.S. Justice Department and HB2 critics have said the threat is practically non-existent.
An apparent deal between Cooper and the Republican-controlled legislature to repeal HB2 fell apart in December.