North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is calling a Wednesday special session for legislators to repeal the state's controversial "bathroom law," which sparked national controversy this year.

McCrory announced his decision in a video message released Monday.

"The whole issue of gender identity is a national issue that will be resolved by the courts and the United States Justice Department," he said. "Like all of us I look forward to that resolution and to working with our state legislators in the coming days."

The statewide bathroom law prohibits people from using bathrooms that don't match their biological sex. Critics said it discriminated against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.


The controversy began when Charlotte's City Council last year passed a bill in February that allowed transgender people to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity. Supporters of the city ordinance said it would prevent discrimination against LGBT people. Critics, though, said it would force business owners to violate their religious beliefs and was a public safety issue.

The Republican-dominated state legislature responded by passing the controversial statewide bathroom bill to override the Charlotte measure. Republicans said they would repeal the statewide bathroom law if Charlotte undid its ordinance.

The city council voted on Monday to repeal their own bathroom ordinance, the Charlotte Observer reported, a move that could bring an end to the year-long fight.

McCrory noted the city council's decision in his video address and blamed Charlotte's leaders for the controversy, which he said was "originated by the political left."

News of the special session was first announced by Gov.-elect Roy Cooper, a Democrat. Cooper unseated McCrory in the November general election in what was a close race. Cooper made McCrory's decision to sign the statewide bathroom bill a key issue.

Cooper earlier Monday said that the special session would take place on Tuesday. He said he was first informed about the decision by the state's legislative leaders, who told him the law would be repealed.

But the Republican leaders of the North Carolina legislature slammed Cooper for jumping the gun on the announcement and said they were acting at McCrory's request.

“Today Roy Cooper and Jennifer Roberts proved what we said was the case all along: their efforts to force men into women's bathrooms and shower facilities was a political stunt to drive out-of-state money into the governor's race," said North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger (R) and state House Speaker Tim Moore (R). "For months, we've said if Charlotte would repeal its bathroom ordinance that created the problem, we would take up the repeal of HB2.

"But Roy Cooper is not telling the truth about the legislature committing to call itself into session – we've always said that was Gov. McCrory's decision, and if he calls us back, we will be prepared to act. For Cooper to say otherwise is a dishonest and disingenuous attempt to take credit," they added.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit against the state law earlier this year. North Carolina business leaders also had voiced their opposition after calls to boycott the state. 

This story was updated at 4:01 p.m.