Supporters, opponents of HB2 hold dueling rallies Monday in Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The division over the new law known as House Bill 2 continued Monday as dueling rallies took place in Raleigh.

The rallies began around noon.

Religious leaders, media personalities and others gathered in Raleigh to reaffirm support for the law that blocks rules allowing transgender people to use the bathroom aligned with their gender identity. The bill also includes language about discrimination that does not mention sexual orientation and blocks cities and counties from passing living wage bills.

But the bill has other significant implications. The bill includes language about discrimination that does not mention sexual orientation and blocks cities and counties from passing living wage bills.

Monday’s rally at the Capitol by the “Keep NC Safe” Coalition comes while vocal national opposition to the law continues. CEOs are urging Gov. Pat McCrory and legislators to repeal it and Bruce Springsteen canceled his Greensboro concert this past Sunday because of it.

Late Monday afternoon, Ryan Smith of the Raleigh Convention Center told CBS North Carolina that there are 16 groups that have notified them they are considering canceling or changing their mind about selecting Raleigh for their meetings or events. So far, he said, five groups have canceled with an economic impact of more than $730,000.

Monday evening, the Greenville City Council passed a resolution by a 5-1 vote to oppose HB2.

“Let’s speak loud enough so they can all hear us,” said John Rustin of the North Carolina Family Council, referring to the opposing protest across the street.

Supporters of the law say it protects women and children from men who use the law as a pretense to deliberately enter the wrong restroom. The law also limits other anti-discrimination protections for the LGBT community. Several hundred people turned out for the rally in favor of the bill.

“We happened to believe that we are correct,” said Jack Mashburn of the Christian Action League. “And we are going to stand passionately for HB2. We are not going to be ill toward those who disagree. But we are not going to apologize either for the position that we are taking in support of HB2.”

Another supporter, Velvet Sunderland, said, “We aren’t trying to remove rights. We’re just trying to support what is right.”

When opponents of HB2 heard about Monday’s rally, they scheduled one of their own to be held across the street at the same time.

“It’s a law that’s hurt North Carolina as a whole,” said Shane Thrapp, who opposes House Bill 2. “It’s hurt our brand, it’s hurt our people, it’s hurt our nature of who were are as loving, inclusive people.”

And Angela Bridgman, a transgender woman, said, “They’ve placed a very large bull’s-eye on my back and declared open season.”

Tracy Hollister saidthe passing of House Bill 2 has “jeopardized the public safety.”

People opposing the bill held signs that read, “Bigotry is bad for business” and ‘Y’all means all.”

Last week, the Capitol, the Executive Mansion, downtown Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Charlotte were all the sites of rallies for and against HB2.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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