North Carolina's Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said on Tuesday he will soon issue an executive order to improve protections for LGBT residents in the state. The announcement comes after he signed a bill in March to partly repeal the state's controversial "bathroom bill," HB2, signed by his predecessor, which among other things barred transgender individuals from using public bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.
While Cooper campaigned against HB2, after he took office, some civil rights groups nonetheless criticized him for compromising with state Republicans and allowing some provisions of HB2 to remain in place.
In light of his announcement to increase protections for LGBT residents in the state, we have put together a timeline of recent moments from North Carolina's long-running and controversial battle for LGBT rights.
Oct. 10, 2014: A U.S. district court judge strikes down North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriages, ruling that such prohibition is unconstitutional.
Jan. 28, 2015: The North Carolina Senate files a bill, known as SB2, allowing magistrates to recuse themselves from performing marriages "based on any sincerely held religious objections."
The bill is vetoed by Republican then-Gov. Pat McCrory on May 28, 2015. That veto is overridden on June 11, 2015, by the North Carolina House of Representatives.
March 23, 2016: McCrory signs into law House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act.
Many critics argue that the legislation is one of the most anti-LGBT bills in the country. Under HB2, municipalities are prevented from establishing their own rules prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing and public accommodations. The law orders all public schools, government agencies and public college campuses to require that multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities be used by people in accordance with their "biological sex" as stated on their birth certificate.
HB2, which becomes known as the "bathroom bill," sparks protests, legal battles and high-profile backlash. In July 2016 the NBA announces it is moving its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte over concerns about the law.
The Associated Press estimates that a continuation of HB2 would cost North Carolina approximately $3.76 billion in lost businesses, jobs and consumer spending over the course of 12 years.
March 30, 2017: After backlash to the "bathroom bill," lawmakers in North Carolina reach an agreement to repeal parts of the bill. The deal prevents local governments, schools and others from regulating multistall bathrooms, showers and changing areas and bars cities from enacting nondiscrimination ordinances for nearly four years.
Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization that advocates for LGBT equality, criticizes the compromise and calls it a "backroom deal" that was done for "political expediency."
April 11, 2017: Three Republican state legislators introduce the Uphold Historical Marriage Act, which argues that despite the 2015 Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal across the United States, individual states should be allowed to make their own marriage laws.
May 10, 2017: In a federal appeals court, the state defends SB2, the recusal law for magistrates. The state argues that SB2 does not impinge on same-sex couples' right to marry. Three couples brought the case, saying they have legal standing to sue the state because it spends public money to pay for magistrates to travel to perform marriages if all magistrates in an area recuse themselves.
May 16, 2017: Cooper says he will act on his own and issue an order to expand protections for LGBT people in the state.