Today, HRC and Equality NC announced both organizations have endorsed Roy Cooper for Governor of North Carolina.
“Roy Cooper is a stalwart advocate for LGBTQ equality and a proven leader who will work to make the Tar Heel State inclusive and welcoming for all,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Day after day, Pat McCrory has continued his reckless defense of the discriminatory HB2 with disregard for the very real harm inflicted on the people, reputation and economy of North Carolina. As governor, Roy Cooper will work to repeal HB2, stand up for common decency and fight to pass statewide, LGBTQ-inclusive, non-discrimination protections. The choice this election couldn’t be clearer. And we are proud to endorse Roy Cooper for Governor so that each and every LGBTQ person across North Carolina can finally live free from fear of discrimination.”
The endorsement comes one day after Donald Trump and Pat McCrory campaigned together in North Carolina and a month after news that Gov. McCrory and his allies have earmarked $500,000 in taxpayer funding to defend HB2 in court, even though it is opposed by fair minded North Carolinians and more than 200 major business leaders and CEOs, many of which lead the state’s largest employers.
“Roy Cooper is the leader we need for North Carolina. He has a strong track record of fighting for civil rights, education and economic growth that Pat McCrory lacks,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “While Pat McCrory has caused deep harm to both the LGBTQ community and the economy of our state every day since the passage of HB2, Roy Cooper has been a leader we need. The choice could not be clearer -- we must elect Roy Cooper as our next governor.”
Polling in North Carolina has found that voters have consistently rejected HB2. An August Public Policy Polling survey found that a 58 percent majority think HB2 is hurting the state’s economy. Only 30 percent support HB2 while 43 percent oppose it. A CNN poll this year found that nationally, 57 percent of Americans opposed laws like North Carolina’s HB2, while 75 percent of Americans said they would back laws that guarantee equal protection under the law for transgender people in jobs, housing and access to public places.
While Donald Trump has embraced Pat McCrory’s discriminatory HB2, a host of Republicans around the country have declined to follow suit. Republicans like Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Dennis Daugaard, Mark Kirk and Rob Portman have all declined to follow in the footsteps of Pat McCrory and have either spoken out or vetoed anti-transgender bills that write discrimination into state law.
Cooper’s strong support for LGBTQ equality stands as a clear difference compared to Governor Pat McCrory’s long history of anti-equality rhetoric. As the current Attorney General of North Carolina, Roy Cooper has refused to defend the constitutionality of the state’s deeply discriminatory HB2 law in court. He also publicly opposed Amendment One, the state’s 2012 constitutional ban on the freedom to marry, calling it “unclear, unwise and unnecessary.” A vocal opponent to legislation intended to enshrine discrimination into state law under the guise of so-called religious liberty, Cooper made clear that he would veto such destructive measures, saying, “There are laws in place that protect religious liberties. We don't need these laws that hurt people and our economy.”
Despite widespread opposition to HB2, Governor McCrory continues to double down in reckless defense of the deeply discriminatory law that bans transgender people from accessing restrooms consistent with their gender identity in government offices and schools, and removed the ability of municipalities to pass LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws and minimum wage ordinances.
McCrory has a long history of opposing LGBTQ equality. Prior to being elected Governor, he defended a gym in Charlotte that denied service to a man because he was gay, he repeatedly voted against local non-discrimination measures and he once suggested that rather than holding public parades, LGBTQ Pride festivals should be hidden away in hotels.
In the more than four months since Governor McCrory and state lawmakers rammed HB2 into law, the economic fallout has continued to grow as companies concerned with protecting their consumers and employees have moved conventions, trainings, operations, productions and other events out of state. Citing the hostile environment created by the state’s HB2 law, and after repeated warnings the league would move the event if the law remained on the books, the NBA recently announced it was moving the game out of Charlotte after state lawmakers failed to repeal the measure.
HB2 has cost North Carolina $329.9 million in lost economic activity, including an estimated $100 million in economic development that will be lost because the NBA has relocated the 2017 All-Star Game outside the state.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.
Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer North Carolinians. For more information, please visit www.equalitync.org