Democratic North Carolina state Rep. Larry Bell, one of a handful of Democrats who voted for sweeping anti-LGBT legislation rushed through a special session in late March, now says he regrets his vote.
Bell, a former school superintendent, told NPR on Friday morning that he recently received a call from a former student.
“He was telling me that he was a part of the LGBT community,” Bell said. “That kind of opened my eyes that people were looking at us and thinking we were hate-mongers or something like that because we voted for that bill.”
“Discrimination is not in my blood, and I just feel like that’s the way a lot of people feel,” the state representative later added.
He also acknowledged that North Carolinians are concerned about the economic impacts of the new law, as numerous companies have nixed plans to expand in the state.
“We’re just kind of recovering from our recession, and I think this is a bad time for us to be losing jobs. And I think everybody will have a concern about that. This is not an issue we need to be dealing with,” he said.
Bell said he would vote to reverse the law, and said there’s a chance that the law could be repealed.
“I think with the outcry, that it’s a possibility. I think a lot of people, since they were rushed into it, would probably reconsider and probably say we don’t need the bill at all,” he told NPR. “I don’t think we needed it at all.”
Democratic state Rep. Billy Richardson also said this week that he regrets voting for the legislation, and said that he would support repealing the law when the legislature reconvenes.