CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed quotes to ACLU spokesperson Mike Meno. The story has been updated to reflect the changes. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
After nearly a year of calls for repeal and lawsuits, House Bill 2 is once again at a standstill, as legislators and activists are increasingly skeptical that compromise is possible, or even desirable.
A deal with the Charlotte City Council fell through in December when the council rescinded the local ordinance that HB2 was designed to void and the N.C. General Assembly was unable to pass a full repeal.
N.C. State University political science professor Steven Greene said a potential negotiated version of the bill could abandon the strictly birth certificate angle in favor of more deliberate language.
“It seems like if you really were more clear, and tightened up the definitions of gender identity and bathroom use, you can actually avoid a lot of the misinformation and scare-mongering surrounding this bill," he said.
Renee Wells, director of N.C. State's GLBT Center, said only a full repeal would restore trust in the General Assembly.
“It’s not one of those issues that you compromise on,” said Wells. “You either accept people for who they are, and afford them rights in accordance with who they are, or you don’t.”
Mike Meno, spokesperson for the N.C. American Civil Liberties Union said the ACLU would not accept anything less than a full repeal.
"Compromises have been discussed and reported on by the media, but they don’t do enough to address the stigmatization and targeting of trans people," he said.
But Greene said repeal is unlikely to occur.
“I really think that there is a majority of the state legislature that would vote for full repeal," he said. "The problem is that that’s not true of the majority of Republicans in the legislature and (Sen. Phil) Berger and (Rep. Tim) Moore don’t want to put forward legislation that is opposed by the majority of their caucus.”
Meno said the ACLU is currently prioritizing court action in its fight to repeal the law.
The ACLU is scheduled to present its argument to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in May — when they hope to expand the number of people for whom HB2 cannot be applied.
Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, a primary sponsor of the law, said in an email he doubts a repeal will make it before the assembly.
“At this juncture, there does not look to be any compromise on repealing or revising HB2," he said. "After multiple special sessions of the General Assembly, the issue is in the hands of the courts.”
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