March 30, 2016 at 11:38 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
N.C. governor accuses anti-LGBT law critics of ‘smear campaign’
Pat McCrory, Republican Party, South Carolina, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Gov. Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) (Photo by Hal Goodtree; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

With consternation over the recently enacted anti-LGBT law in North Carolina continuing to grow, Gov. Pat McCrory issued a video response accusing opponents of the measure of launching a “smear campaign” against the state.

“North Carolina has been the target of vicious, nationwide smear campaign disregarding the facts,” McCrory said. “Other politicians from the White House, to mayors and city council members and yes, even our attorney general, have initiated and promoted conflict to advance their political agenda, even if it means defying the constitution and their oath of office.”

McCrory said the new law, which he signed last week after an emergency session of the state legislature, is “not perfect,” but necessary to protect privacy and prevent men from using women’s restrooms in the aftermath of Charlotte passing a pro-LGBT non-discrimination ordinance, which was set to take effect Friday.

The law, House Bill 2, undos all pro-LGBT ordinances in the state, including Charlotte’s, and prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms and locker rooms in schools and government buildings consistent with their gender identity.

“Some have called our state an embarrassment,” McCrory said. “Frankly, the real embarrassment is politicians not publicly respecting each other’s positions on complex issues.”

McCrory had particular criticism for North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat who announced he won’t defend the law in court against litigation and who’s challenging McCrory in the state race for governor.

“As the state attorney he cannot select which laws he will defend and which laws are politically expedient to refuse to defend,” McCrory said.

Pointing out Cooper said he won’t the defend the law on the basis that it conflicts with the non-discrimination policy in his office and in the office of the state treasurer, McCrory said those policies would, in fact, remain intact and the attorney general is “inventing conflict that simply does not exist.”

Notably, at the end of the video, McCrory said he’s open to “work on solutions that will make this bill better in the future.” The Washington Blade has placed a call in his office to seek clarification on whether that means McCrory is open to a legislative fix for the law.

Ford Porter, a Cooper campaign spokesperson, said McCrory is the one the leading misleading people with his defense of House Bill 2, arguing the law should be lifted from the books.

“It is unfortunate that Gov. McCrory has decided to mislead North Carolinians about the facts of this law,” McCrory said. “His new law clearly strikes down protections that existed for employees of state agencies, universities, and local government across the state. Instead of misleading North Carolinians, he should do his job, focus on repealing this law, and reverse the damage being done to our economy.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said on Twitter in response to the video if McCrory is serious about solutions to make HB 2 better, he should “repeal this discriminatory law.”

McCrory has previously been accused of misstating the facts on HB 2. Last week, his office unveiled a Q&A of “Myths v. Facts” on the House Bill 2, but many observers, including local affiliate WRAL, which covers politics in North Carolina, panned that document as misleading and untruthful.

“There are several factual problems with claims made in the release,” the WRAL report says. “In addition, there are several areas of uncertainty related to claims made in the governor’s release. Given the combined problems, we have assigned the release a ‘moving violation,’ the lowest rating on our fact checking scale.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • NYC AND NY state, San Fran, W. Palm Beach, Portland, Seattle AND Washington state, plus the state of Vermont have all announce travel bans to NC. Maybe Boston soon, too.

    So why not DC’s Mayor Bowser?



    • What a racist attack on a black mayor!

    • Didn’t you just make a speech to someone to go for a job interview in NC they were reconsidering and how wonderful the state is yet at the same time you say states should enact travel bans. You advised against boycotts. There is inconsistency in what you argue. You also love those links don’t you?

      • You do have trouble with subtle, out-of-the-box distinctions, don’t you?

        But I’m guessing James and most folks understand the difference between a job interview for a few days– or spending thousands on a longer vacation in North Carolina.

        Boycotting whole states will always have exceptions. Even travel bans can not be “total” boycotts of any state.

        However they do send a powerful message and very much impact convention and business tourism– far more than any monies James could withhold from that economy by skipping a potential life-changing job interview for a few days.

        BTW, NC *IS* a beautiful state– with lots of beautiful, enlightened and progressive residents and businesses. A few bigoted politicians, by snaky, secretive governance– have led it temporarily astray.

        After the boycott, you might want to visit it sometime.You might learn a thing or two from all that enlightenment.

        • A job interview involves expense, travel and time. Further he’s talking about relocating which is an expense in itself and can be as expensive as a vacation. You know nothing about how soon he’d be expected to move maybe it’s relatively immediate. He maybe leaving friends and family behind and years of being where he is now.It’s not a subtle thing. It’s a big decision.

          You have trouble ever conceding that you don’t know everything or are always right don’t you. I didn’t realize you were so much more enlightened than the rest of us Buddha. Your humility is striking.

          I’ve been to NC before among many other places.

          Btw, I forgot to mention that all your links do not make a point. Most people don’t have the time or desire to read them. They have lives.

  • I accuse him of supporting an orchestrated hate campaign, stripping NC cities and towns of their right to vote for and enact local LGBT civil rights and protections from discrimination.

  • I am not gay but have many friends that are and I also have a transgender friend. I have a job interview in NC which I will cancel. I don’t want to live among trailer trash hating people.

    • Well, think about that some more, James. Come to think of it, YOU might be just the fair-minded employee lots of non-discriminatory NC businesses would want to hire.

      North Carolina is a southern state in transition. This dying gasp of anti-LGBT bigotry will pass. This sneaky law will be repealed. I doubt it would have been signed into law if the process had been as open as it was in Georgia.

      Also, there are lots of great people in North Carolina– LGBT and straight– and it has a vibrant, robust progressive population. And more and more enlightened people, including LGBTs, from all over the country are moving to NC and other states in the South every day.

      It’s a beautiful state with beautiful mountains and beautiful beaches.

      So why are LGBTs boycotting their own? It has always been the case that the very people activists seek to help with an economic boycott will also get hurt by the boycott’s economic impact.

      However, the overwhelming majority of NC LGBTs will understand and embrace that consequence– because the *prize* of equality and justice is so much bigger and worthwhile than the sacrifices required to defeat government hate and tyranny.

      Sixty years ago, African Americans of Montgomery, Alabama, stubbornly walked to work for a year to enforce their own Bus Boycott, inspired by Rosa Parks’ courageous civil disobedience.

      This boycott won’t need to last as long, nor will it create as much localized hardship.

      I’d take that interview opportunity. Don’t let fear or disgust with a vocal minority of NC bigots ruin a chance at a better life. Walk around/ drive around and see for yourself. You might kick yourself later if you at least didn’t take the opportunity to discover and find out what the state is truly like– buried under the headlines of the moment.

  • The NC governor is engaging in what psychologists call “projection.” He signed a bill that attacks LGBT Americans, and now he claims the bullies in NC are being “bullied.” This is the #1 anti-gay lie nowadays.

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