“In Philadelphia last week, there was a speaker, Sarah McBride, who made history. Some of you know her, she was the first transgender person ever to speak at a national convention. And she talked about the continuing battle we have in this nation to fight against discrimination,” Kaine said, referring to the 2016 DNC.
“I know in North Carolina there’s been some pain over this issue,” Kaine continued. “They snuck through in the legislature this HB2, and they tried to introduce it kind of in the dead of night, and (thought), ‘Can we do an end run and make it happen really fast? And maybe people won’t notice, and maybe people won’t complain.’ But you all have stood up in a major way, and you’ve said, ‘This is not who we are, this is not who North Carolina is, these are not our values.’ And that’s one of the reasons North Carolina is so intensely focused on this race.”
Kaine shared that Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general, who is running against Gov. McCrory in the gubernatorial race, told him he didn’t want people to think of North Carolina as going backwards.
“We gotta go forward, not backward,” Kaine said, which brought chants of “Forward together!”
The North Carolina NAACP has been using the phrase. NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber II gave a speech at the 2016 DNC.
Kaine pointed out that Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence also tried to enact discriminatory laws and when businesses began to pull out of Indiana as a result he “had to do a u-turn.” Gov. McCrory and the Republican controlled North Carolina General Assembly have instead dug in their heels and watched companies such as PayPal pull out, and events like concerts, conventions and most recently the 2017 NBA All-Star Game hightail it out of the Tar Heel state as well.
“This is somebody who has said LGBT people would bring about a ‘societal collapse.’ That’s just not right, folks.” Kaine said of Pence.
HuffPost Pollster has Clinton holding a slight lead over Trump in the state, and Cooper with a slight lead over McCrory in the race for governor.
McCrory signed HB2 into law, which requires transgender people to use the bathrooms and locker rooms matching the gender on their birth certificate in public buildings, and allows private businesses to set their own rules around the issue. It also capped the state’s minimum wage, nullified any pre-existing discrimination ordinances passed by cities and municipalities in North Carolina and took away the right to sue for workplace discrimination in the state courts.
This last provision was changed, but LGBTQ people are still unable to sue for workplace discrimination in the state, as there are no protections for them and there are no protections federally, either. Clinton has pledged to work with Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community in employment, housing, education, obtaining credit, federal funding, jury service and public accommodations.
Kaine also praised the recent court decision to strike down restrictive voting laws, which were passed after the Supreme Court, in 2013, made it possible for Southern states to change their voting laws without federal preclearance, which they had been required to do since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.