The Latest: State lawmaker 'haunted' by vote on gender law

AP News
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Posted: Apr 11, 2016 5:15 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on demonstrations over a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people (all times local):

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5:15 p.m.

A Democratic North Carolina state representative says he was wrong to vote for a law that limits protections for lesbians, gays and transgender people.

Rep. Billy Richardson of Fayetteville wrote in an op-ed piece being published Tuesday in The Fayetteville Observer (http://goo.gl/zpXOcm ) that he is "haunted" by his decision to vote for the law during a special session in late March. He urges his colleagues to repeal the law.

Because of the law, he says that: "we now live in a state that has closed our state courts to citizens who suffer discrimination for practicing their Christian faith or other religious beliefs, or because of their race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability."

He also says the law will cost North Carolina jobs as businesses look to other states "that have not taken this divisive path."

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1:10 p.m.

About 500 people have gathered on the grounds of the old Capitol building in Raleigh to show their support for a North Carolina law that limits protections for the LGBT community.

At the midday rally Monday, speakers led the crowd in chants offering thanks to Gov. Pat McCrory and the state's Republican legislative leaders.

Mark Creech of the Christian Action League decried what he said was a smear campaign to distort what he believes is a commonsense law to protect privacy in bathrooms.

Across the street about 100 people gathered in a counter protest, holding signs such as "Bigotry is Bad for Business."

As the law's supporters spoke, they chanted: "They are up there preaching hate! They do not represent our state!"

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10:30 a.m.

Dueling demonstrations are expected by supporters and opponents of a North Carolina law that limits antidiscrimination policies for lesbian, gay and transgender people.

A group that wants to repeal the law, "Triangle Families against HB2," says it plans to read eulogies of transgender people who have faced violence and discrimination.

The protest will stand in contrast to what's expected to be the largest rally yet supporting state leaders' decision to enact the new law. Smaller prayer vigils have been held in several cities by supporters of the law.

Both rallies are scheduled for noon Monday on or near the old Capitol grounds.

Clergy including the leader of North Carolina's NAACP branch also have threatened sit-ins and civil disobedience later this month if the law isn't repealed.

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6:30 a.m.

Religious leaders, media personalities and others are gathering in North Carolina's capital to reaffirm support for a law that blocks rules allowing transgender people to use the bathroom aligned with their gender identity.

Monday's rally by the "Keep NC Safe" Coalition on the old Capitol grounds in Raleigh comes while vocal national opposition to the law continues. Business executives are urging Gov. Pat McCrory and legislators to repeal the law, Bruce Springsteen canceled his Greensboro concert Sunday because of the law.

Scheduled speakers include the Benham Brothers, Christian author Frank Turek, and Pentecostal minister Bishop Harry Jackson.

Supporters say the law protects women and children from men who use the law as a pretense to enter the wrong restroom. The law also limits other anti-discrimination protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.