RALEIGH, N.C.— Police on Monday arrested 54 protesters at the North Carolina statehouse who showed up to condemn the state’s notorious and nefarious House Bill 2. Protesters corralled around the statehouse as legislators returned to begin a new session.
HB2, which sweepingly nulls local LGBT protections and bars transgender people from using public bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, has sparked fervent debate in North Carolina and across the country as fair-minded corporations, small businesses, sports teams, lawmakers, LGBT equality advocates, power players in entertainment and President Obama continue to vocalize opposition to the draconian law.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and many elected Republican leaders say they will not repeal the anti-LGBT law, despite ever-growing outrage over its damaging implications for residents—and the state’s reputation and economy.
Hundreds of protesters on both sides of the issue gathered Monday and demonstrated their passion over HB2. The Associated Press described the atmosphere generated by the protests in detail: “Three waves of people, several dozen at a time, held sit-ins outside the offices of legislative leaders. Shortly before the evening legislative session began, more than a dozen demonstrators walked into House Speaker Tim Moore's office and began chanting. A few minutes later, law enforcement officers started leading out the protesters who had entered Moore's office, one by one, in plastic handcuffs. One man had to be carried out. Most were led out quietly, but one woman chanted: ‘Forward together, not one step back!’ Each time one was led out, fellow protesters chanted standing nearby shouted: ‘Thank you! We love you!’ Eighteen of those arrested were led from Moore's office, while the rest were arrested a couple of hours later outside Moore's closed office as officers sought to close the building for the night.”
North Carolina House Democrats filed legislation Monday to repeal the law, though the measure’s chances for success seem tepid due to a cowardly lack of Republican supporters.
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