Advocacy groups have bought full-page newspaper advertisements critical of a deal to replace House Bill 2 that was forged between state legislators and Gov. Roy Cooper.
The ads ran in The News & Observer, Charlotte Observer and San Jose Mercury News. They were paid for by the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina and endorsed by several advocacy groups including Believe Out Loud, the NAACP and The National Center for Transgender Equality.
“HB2 was not repealed,” says the ad, which calls out Cooper, a Democrat, and Republican leaders Phil Berger and Tim Moore. “North Carolina doubled down on discrimination by passing HB 2.0, a statewide ban on fundamental civil rights protections.”
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Facing a reported deadline to avoid missing out on NCAA postseason games through 2022, Cooper, Moore and Berger negotiated a compromise on HB2 last week and approved it Thursday. The deal repeals HB2, leaves regulation of restrooms and locker rooms to the state, and sets a moratorium on local ordinances regulating public accommodations or private employment practices until Dec. 1, 2020.
LGBT rights groups have been critical of the compromise and the NCAA’s subsequent decision to “reluctantly” consider the state for games. The NCAA said the law “has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.”
Stephen Peters, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said the group took out the ads to highlight what it sees as a “fake ‘repeal’ of HB2.”
“The civil rights community wants businesses to know the truth about Cooper's sham HB2 ‘deal,’” Peters said.
In addition to tough talk against the compromise bill, the ad features critical statements from Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Levi Strauss & Co. and the American Civil Liberties Union and a headline from the New York Times.
The legislature and former Gov. Pat McCrory approved HB2 last spring, forbidding local anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people and requiring people in government facilities to use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates. Critics said it was discriminatory, while supporters contended it was needed to protect girls and women from sex offenders who might take advantage of access to public restrooms based on gender identity instead of sex at birth.
A full-page advertisement on Thursday in the News & Observer runs about $4,500, according to the newspaper’s advertising department.