The City Council of Charlotte, N.C., opened the bathroom door only to see the state threaten to slam it shut.
On Monday, the council approved broad civil rights protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people. On Tuesday, conservative state politicians vowed to override at least one part of the decision.
Their biggest concern? The new law includes a provision that allows transgender people to use public bathrooms that match their gender identities.
Opponents dubbed it “the bathroom bill.” The evangelist Franklin Graham, a North Carolina native, had called the law “wicked” and “filthy” and said it “would allow pedophiles, perverts and predators into women’s bathrooms.” North Carolina’s speaker of the House on Tuesday called it “a major public safety issue.”
The governor, Pat McCrory, a Republican, released a statement saying he was “disappointed and saddened.”
“As governor, I will support legislative action to address this regulation and will remain committed to protecting the privacy and safety of all men, women and children of all ages in North Carolina,” it said.
As LGBT activists around the U.S. turn their attention toward expanding rights for transgender Americans, they have met growing opposition from lawmakers in conservative states who have repeatedly focused on bathrooms.
Forty-four bills that limit bathroom and locker room use or allow business owners to deny service to transgender people are currently under consideration in 16 states, according to a report released Monday by the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT advocacy group.
Last week, South Dakota’s Legislature approved such a ban. Activists — including transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner — urged the state’s governor to veto the bill.
Of the 20 largest cities in America, Charlotte was among three that didn’t have “nondiscrimination protection” for LGBT people, said Cathryn Oakley, a lawyer at the Human Rights Campaign.
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