NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York City Council on Tuesday approved a law requiring single-stall public bathrooms to be gender neutral in a show of support for transgender people, the bill's main sponsor said.

The council voted 47-2 for the measure, which will take effect Jan. 1.

Many New York City restaurants already mark their single-stall bathrooms without gender designations or as apt for both sexes, but the new law is meant to make the practice standard and recognize transgender people, Councilman Daniel Dromm said."This sends a message that New York City supports the transgender community and understands the issue," Dromm said.

A law passed by North Carolina that requires people to use the public bathroom matching their gender assigned at birth rather than their gender identity triggered wide criticism and led a parade of celebrity performers to boycott the state.

Dromm said the New York City measure was also a nod to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people following the June 12 Orlando massacre at a gay nightclub that killed 49 people, as he noted how the issue has galvanized people.

"They see the urgency of addressing these issues. People are now definitely taking a stand pro-LGBT, and the 'T' here figures into it heavily," Dromm said.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Leslie Adler)