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Arizona congressman: ‘Bathroom bill’ doing damage to North Carolina

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona legislation targeting transgender people was killed by lawmakers three years ago but for states that have passed a similar “bathroom bill,” it’s going to cost them, a U.S. congressman said.

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said there was no reason for North Carolina to pass into law a bill that restricted restroom use by transgender people.

“Now they’re going to pay the consequences,” Gallego said.

The U.S. Department of Justice has said the Civil Rights Act required transgender people be allowed to access facilities matching their gender identities.

North Carolina has sued the federal government to keep its “bathroom bill” in place.

Gallego represented Arizona’s 16th District in the statehouse at the time Arizona’s bill was proposed by Rep. John Kavanaugh.

The congressman from Phoenix said the bill appeased a small number of people but would affect many more in a negative way.

Some estimates say North Carolina has already lost $86 million and almost 2,000 jobs as a result of the new law.

Entertainers Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr canceled concerts scheduled in the state, eight cities and four states have said they would stop publicly-funded employee travel to North Carolina and a Broadway composer has said none of his shows will be performed there for the duration.

PayPal has canceled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte, after passage of HB 2.

Gallego, who joined the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus last year, said, “The federal government (is) threatening to withhold federal dollars and also everyday businesses … say they don’t want to be associated with North Carolina.”

KTAR’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.