Lawmaker: No broad desire for special session

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Latest on the response by the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA to pull championship games out of North Carolina because of House Bill 2 (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

A key North Carolina House Republican leader says there’s no broad appetite now among fellow Republican colleagues in the chamber for a special General Assembly session for changes to the law known as House Bill 2.

Majority Leader John Bell of Goldsboro told The Associated Press on Thursday that lawmakers from both parties voted for the law last March with the right reasons and intentions, and it’s sad the law has become a political football. The NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference removed upcoming championships from North Carolina sites this week because of H.B. 2.

Law supporters say limits on anti-discrimination rules and which bathrooms transgender people can use were approved with privacy and safety in mind.

Two GOP state senators have urged the law be partially or fully repealed. And Republican Rep. Gary Pendleton of Raleigh told The News & Observer of Raleigh Thursday there should be a special session.

5:40 p.m.

Gov. Pat McCrory is attributing the latest financial pushback against North Carolina for a law limiting anti-discrimination rules for LGBT people to politics, particularly the closely-watched fall elections for president and for his own job in the state.

McCrory gave a midday speech in his hometown of Charlotte on Thursday, the day after the Atlantic Coast Conference removed several championship events from North Carolina, including the football title game in Charlotte. The NCAA took away events from the state earlier in the week. Both groups cited House Bill 2.

The Charlotte Observer reported McCrory showed no signs of backing off his position defending the law. He says law opponents want to redefine gender, and that issue ultimately will be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

McCrory told civic and business leaders he’s going to keep defending North Carolina as inclusive and welcoming.

5:15 p.m.

Two gay-rights organizations say their fall elections drive in North Carolina aims to replace Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and state legislators who approved a state law that critics say discriminates against the LGBT community.

The Human Rights Campaign and state-affiliate Equality North Carolina announced Thursday endorsements in 15 General Assembly races – none of them Republican incumbents or challengers. GOP lawmakers and McCrory approved the law known as House Bill 2 last March.

Its passage led to a national outcry against the law, including canceled concerts and conventions. The NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference this week pulled championship events for this academic year scheduled for North Carolina because of the law.

Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign previously endorsed McCrory’s rival, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper.

At a Raleigh news conference, the groups also discussed a voter mobilization effort called “TurnOut NC” to elect state leaders who support gay rights.

5 p.m.

Evangelist Franklin Graham has sent a letter to the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference saying he’s “outraged” as the decision by the league to pull its championship games out of North Carolina over a state law limiting protections for LGBT people.

The Charlotte Observer reports the son of the Rev. Billy Graham sent a letter to ACC commissioner John Swofford. Copies were sent to the presidents of the 15 member schools.

In the letter, the younger Graham called on Swofford not to make “political pawns of student-athletes.” He also told Swofford that the ACC, NCAA and other companies and organizations now boycotting North Carolina because of the controversial law known as House Bill 2 are guilty of “profound hypocrisy” for “making calculated business decisions disguised as moral outrage.”

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