“What planet are you on?” NC Governor takes heat on HB2 from challenger at recent debate
Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB2 into law earlier this year and it’s made headlines ever since. The law forces transgender folks to use the restroom aligned with their birth certificate, not their gender identity, as well as denies localities from adding LGBTQ folks to the list of protected classes in the workplace.
McCrory is also facing a re-election this November and his rival, Democrat and current NC Attorney General Roy Cooper, didn’t pull any punches around the discriminatory law in a debate last night.
“It was the mayor of Charlotte, with strong support from the Attorney General, who decided to put a mandate on the entire private sector, who had public facilities, and say, ‘We’re going to fine you unless you recognize a brand new concept of gender identity and gender expression.’ A major change in culture and not just in North Carolina, but in our country.” McCrory said noting Charlotte had enacted a policy which would have made it illegal to fire someone for being LGBTQ. ”It wasn’t needed, it wasn’t called for, it was the liberals who brought this issue up.”
Cooper and democrats have long supported expanding protections for LGBTQs, but many states, like Virginia and North Carolina, are Dillon rule states which forbid localities from creating laws with powers not granted to them by the state’s General Assembly – neither VA or NC include LGBTQ in workplace, housing or hate crime legislation, there for no localities can add them.
But Cooper shot back:
“House Bill 2 has to be repealed, it writes discrimination into our law and it has been a disaster for our economy… This legislation was passed in one day and signed in the middle of the night. And Governor McCrory continues to go across this state telling people this is not hurting our economy, he attacks business that are opposed to it, and says that everything is going fine. Governor, what planet are you on?”
The economic impact of HB2 has been considered minor to terrible. Both the NCAA and ACC sports leagues have pulled championships out of the Tar heel state over the policy which could add up to hundreds of millions in lost possible revenue.
But small businesses say they’ve felt the burn as well.
“… We’re largely dependent on events that come to the coliseum and tourism and people that come to this area,” said the restaurant Operations Manager Ziad Fleihan who owns Ghassan’s a few blocks away from the Greensboro Coliseum. After numerous high profile concerts were canceled there, including Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen, Fleihan told WUNC his 41-year-old family business has suffered.
McCrory has offered to repeal the measure if Charlotte rolls back protections for LGBTQs, but the town’s mayor and city council have so far not budged.
“The City of Charlotte continues its commitment to be a welcoming community that honors and respects all people,” Roberts said in a statement sent to WYFF. “We appreciate the state wanting to find a solution to the challenges we are facing and applaud the governor for recognizing the state should overturn HB2, which the state can do at any time without any action from the City of Charlotte.”
Cooper and McCory have traded wins in recent polls, but the latest numbers from High Point University show Cooper up by seven points – voters will decide on November 8th.
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