North Carolina legislators decided to rein in local governments by approving a bill Wednesday that prevents cities and counties from passing their own anti-discrimination rules, the AP reports. The legislation, if enacted, would deal a blow to the LGBT movement after success with protections in cities across the country. The Republican-controlled General Assembly took action after the city of Charlotte recently approved a broad anti-discrimination measure that allows transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity. Legislators now will ask Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, to sign it into law. Earlier this week, a top aide had concerns about the bill's scope—raising questions about what the governor's response would be.
Republicans and their allies have said intervening is necessary to protect the safety of women and children. There have been arguments that any man could enter a woman's restroom or locker room simply by calling himself transgender. Representatives for gay rights groups said the legislation demonizes the community and espouses bogus claims about increasing the risk of sexual assaults. They say the bill will deny lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people essential protections needed to ensure they can get a hotel room, hail a taxi, or dine at a restaurant without fear. The bill would bar local governments statewide from prohibiting discrimination in public places based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (Read more transgender stories.)