Terry Van Duyn and Rep. John Ager, traded in HB2 for a newer, less appalling model that does the absolute least it can do for LGBTQ North Carolinians without making headlines. Over the past year, the ACC, NCAA and National Basketball Association pulled sports events from the state and businesses canceled expansions to protest the law.
"If there's in any way still discrimination for gays and transgender people, you can't say everything's back to normal", said Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing expert at Baker Street Advertising. Essentially the only reason the law was actually revised was to comply with a line in the sand by the NCAA.
Lawmakers barely passed the repeal before the NCAA's deadline, which didn't sit well with numerous bill's opponents.
Transgender individuals, meanwhile, aren't required to use the bathroom associated with their birth certificate gender but also aren't expressly allowed to use the bathroom of their choice either, creating further questions.
While supporters of HB2 argue that the bathroom law was needed to preserve privacy and keep people safe from predators, opponents said that the alleged danger was only imaginary. (It is.) North Carolina politics makes basketball recruiting look like a bake sale.
"Everybody loves being in North Carolina for our games", he said. "Companies that I have talked to, companies that I have recruited, who were hesitant or refusing to bring businesses to our state before the passage of today's bill now are telling me: We are coming".
Indeed there is: The law known as House Bill 2 also had prevented local and state governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances protecting on the basis of categories such as sexual orientation and gender identity.
Sports marketing experts say a return to North Carolina could be a reputational risk for organizations like the NCAA, which pulled North Carolina out of its schedule rotation for tournament games.
The sporting stakes are not small: Five years of upcoming NCAA events, the 2019 and 2020 ACC basketball tournaments and other ACC events, the viability of MLS expansion bids in Raleigh and Charlotte and the NBA All-Star Game all rest on how this partial repeal is perceived. HB142 prohibits local governments from enacting any new such protections until December 2020.
Mr. Cooper said the compromise with the Republican-controlled legislature was "not ideal", but he held out hope that the repeal would start to "repair our reputation".
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican who has championed the bathroom proposal, said Thursday that North Carolina revised its law "to focus on the same issues we addressed with Senate Bill 6".
The ACC announced that it would once again consider North Carolina in a release Friday afternoon.
The timing of the HB2 repeal isn't a coincidence. It has also drawn fierce opposition from members of the business community who fear it could lead to event cancellations similar to those North Carolina experienced.
"There were four distinct problems that the board had with that bill", Emmert said. "People who are straight support that group and support equality for that group".
It was a move from the ACC that some found surprising since they are based in Greensboro and had previously given the diplomatic answer of "we'll think about it" when the bill first passed.
We couldn't agree more, which is why it's so perplexing that the democratic minority handed over what little leverage they had in this fight for a better shot at courtside seats.