Same-sex marriage ‘not valid,’ lawmakers say in new bill

Four North Carolina House Republicans introduced a bill Tuesday that would defy the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. House Bill 780, titled “Uphold Historical Marriage Act,” says the Supreme Court’s ruling would be “null and void” and declares “marriages between persons of the same gender not valid.” The bill also quotes the following portion of the Bible: “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, ESV). The proposed legislation gained widespread attention after a tweet from Buzzfeed News national reporter Dominic Holden.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported that the bill would order North Carolina to return to the constitutional amendment known as Amendment One, which was approved in a 2012 voter referendum. Same-sex marriages performed in other states wouldn’t be recognized in North Carolina under HB 780. The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Larry Pittman of Cabarrus, is a Christian minister. According to a WRAL article, Pittman refused to comment on the legislation he filed. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper released a statement saying, “The bill is wrong. We need more LGBT protections, not fewer.”

Holden called the bill “preposterous” and said it won’t become law. The News & Observer reported HB 780 was sponsored by the House’s most conservative legislators — a group that frequently files bills that don’t get a hearing because House GOP leaders don’t support the proposals.


NCAA ‘reluctantly’ considering North Carolina for future championships

Despite lingering discrimination concerns, the NCAA announced Tuesday morning that it will consider North Carolina’s bids to host future NCAA championship events. The organization also said 2017-18 championships previously awarded to North Carolina will remain in the state. In a news release, the NCAA said: “A majority on the NCAA Board of Governors reluctantly voted to allow consideration of championship bids in North Carolina by our committees that are presently meeting.” The organization said the new law repealing House Bill 2 has “minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.” An announcement of all championship sites is expected to be made April 18.

The North Carolina Sports Association estimated more than $250 million in potential losses from 130 event bids submitted to the NCAA, the Associated Press reported. HB2 required people to use restrooms of their birth sex, prompting the NCAA to pull seven events from the state in September for the 2016-17 season, including men’s basketball tournament games from Greensboro. Duke University’s second round loss to the University of South Carolina at the Greenville, South Carolina, host site prompted further HB2 discussion. The NCAA’s March 30 deadline added pressure for state lawmakers to repeal the controversial bill.

Though the NCAA is an influential sports organization, others will be making key decisions in the near future. On Thursday, the NBA Board of Governors will discuss whether to bring its all-star game to Charlotte in 2019, WSOC-TV reported. On March 31, the day after HB2 was repealed, the Atlantic Cost Conference announced it would reconsider hosting its championships in North Carolina.

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway to headline NCGOP convention

Kellyanne Conway, one of President Donald Trump’s key advisers, will be the headline speaker at the N.C. Republican Party’s convention in June, the party announced Tuesday afternoon.

Conway is scheduled to speak on June 3 during a convention luncheon session in Wilmington. NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes said in a news release that he is delighted Conway agreed to be a keynote speaker at the state convention. “She’s an integral piece of the Republican Party as a whole, and we thank her greatly for her willingness to support our state party,” Hayes added.

The N.C. Democratic Party responded to the announcement, calling the event an “unparalleled opportunity for Conway and NCGOP leadership to swap ‘alternative facts.'”

North Carolina repeals HB2

On Thursday, the General Assembly passed a law that repeals House Bill 2 but bans cities and towns from passing anti-discrimination ordinances for about three years. It also gives the state regulation authority over multi-occupancy bathroom and shower facilities. HB2 required people to use the restroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, Republican Senate leader Phil Berger and Republican House Speaker Tim Moore reached a compromise late Wednesday night to repeal the bill ahead of an NCAA deadline. On Thursday, the N.C. Senate voted 32-16 to repeal HB2, while the House supported the repeal by a narrower 70-48 margin. All three Alamance County lawmakers — Republicans Sen. Rick Gunn, Rep. Dennis Riddell and Rep. Stephen Ross — supported the repeal, the Burlington Times-News reported. In a news conference on Thursday evening, Cooper announced he signed the bill into law, saying the state’s “laws are catching up with our people.”

The new law has been met with criticism from all sides of the political spectrum, according to an article from the Raleigh News & Observer. The conservative N.C. Values Coalition said the NCAA had bullied the Legislature into passing the bill. LGBTQ advocacy groups have criticized the bill for placing a three-year moratorium on local governments passing anti-discrimination ordinances. The Human Rights Campaign tweeted Saturday morning that people should demand the NCAA urge North Carolina to pass a “real and meaningful” repeal of HB2. Lawmakers have defended the bill, saying that the criticism signals there was a true compromise between Democrats and Republicans. The NCAA has yet to release a statement about the HB2 repeal.

HB2 repeal going to vote Thursday as NCAA deadline approaches

North Carolina lawmakers struck a deal late Wednesday night with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper that could repeal House Bill 2. Earlier this week, the NCAA reported a Thursday deadline for the state to make changes to the controversial law or lose its ability to host sports championships through 2022, according to Business Insider. HB2 is a law passed by the state legislature in March 2016 that, among many things, requires people to use the restrooms of the gender on their birth certificates.

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore issued a joint statement Wednesday night, saying House Bill 142 would repeal HB2, leave the issue of bathroom regulation to the state and enact a moratorium on local ordinances similar to Charlotte’s until Dec. 1, 2020. Berger and Moore said in their statement: “We are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy.” Cooper said in a statement that he supports the compromise. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeal House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” he said in the statement.

The bill is expected to go to a vote in the Senate at about 9:15 a.m. and then go to the House shortly thereafter. The question going forward is whether there are enough legislators in both houses who will support the compromise. Since its passage, HB2 has cost the state millions of dollars in lost revenue. The Associated Press published a report on Monday, which found that HB2 will cost North Carolina more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a decade.

Duke Basketball loss to South Carolina fuels HB2 discussion

In September 2016, the NCAA pulled seven championship events from North Carolina, including the first and second rounds of the men’s basketball tournament. The basketball tournament was initially scheduled to be held in Greensboro but was moved to Greenville, South Carolina. In a statement, the NCAA Board of Governors wrote, “Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee the host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state.” In other words, because the state legislature failed to repeal or modify House Bill 2, which requires transgender people to use the restroom of the gender on their birth certificate, North Carolina was deemed unfit to host the tournament.

On Sunday, No. 2 Duke University lost to No. 7 University of South Carolina 88-81. The top-seeded University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill narrowly fended off No. 8 Arkansas 72-65. USC had a virtual home-court advantage, competing just 100 miles away from campus.

Though Duke and UNC both underperformed because of several factors, HB2’s effects are being felt on the basketball court as both schools had to compete far from home. With the NCAA set to announce upcoming tournament sites through 2022, there is an urgency for the state legislature to repeal HB2. If it doesn’t get repealed, future teams across the state will likely lose their home-state advantage. Multiple outlets, including NBC Sports and CBS Sports, have said the NCAA’s site change was a factor in Duke’s loss and could negatively impact North Carolina basketball teams in the future.

Trump to NC congressman: ‘I’m coming after you’

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina is coming under fire from President Donald Trump after saying he would refuse to support the Republican healthcare bill in its current form. Last week, Meadows told MSNBC he would need reassurance that premiums would come down and make healthcare more affordable. In the interview, he also said: “I am willing to invest the political capital to get it right. The next week is critical.”

According to NPR Politics, Meadows is “leading the charge” against the GOP healthcare plan. In a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, Trump delivered a message of tough love to his own party, warning members to support the bill or run the risk of being in a contentious primary. Another NPR article stated that “according to people in the room, Trump said, ‘Mark Meadows. I’m coming after you.'”

Meadows supported Cruz during the 2016 presidential campaign and was silent during the summer when asked if he’d support the party’s presumptive nominee.