The Mess Created by Republicans in North Carolina

North Carolina’s Governor McCrory and the Republican-controlled legislature have created a bit of a mess in their state. Here are the events of how that unfolded.

1. The city of Charlotte approved an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against LGBT Americans.

2. The NC legislature called a special session and hastily passed a law that stops local governments from passing ordinances that would ban discrimination against specific groups. Governor McCrory signed it the same day. The overriding issue was whether the Charlotte ordinance allowed transgender people to use the rest room of their choice.

3. Several civil liberties groups have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the NC law is unconstitutional and discriminates against transgender people.

4. North Carolina’s Attorney General Roy Cooper has announced that he won’t defend the law.

Beneath the surface of those events are some other fascinating stories. For example, the fact that the city of Charlotte passed an anti-discrimination ordinance points to the fact that all over this country – even in red states – most large cities are currently governed by Democrats. We’ve seen other examples where they have passed progressive laws/ordinances that are quashed by Republicans who tend to control legislatures and governor’s offices. I suspect that over time, that tension will grow and continue to demonstrate the hypocrisy of Republican rhetoric about supporting local control.

Apparently the NC governor and legislature didn’t pay much attention to detail in hastily crafting their bill and it is running into some problems.

There are some questions, however, about whether or not the governor fully understands the new law he just created after a rushed legislative push. The News & Observer reported yesterday, for example, that the new policy appears to revoke a fair housing ordinance in Greensboro and a policy governing municipal contracts in Raleigh.

Asked for a response, McCrory, who signed H.B. 2 into law last week, said, “I’ve been traveling all day, so you’re telling me something I’m not aware of.”

The governor’s spokesperson later argued that the law doesn’t affect local housing ordinances, but he said he’s “still not sure” about the impact on other types of ordinances.

It’s not unreasonable to think McCrory and his GOP allies should have worked out these details before changing the state’s discrimination laws.

This is what happens when ideologues who are responding based on fear and paranoia write laws. Nuff said.

Much like the pressure that was brought to bear on Governor Nathan Deal in Georgia over whether to sign the religious liberties law passed by his legislature, businesses are starting to pull out of North Carolina on this one as well.

…film director Rob Reiner has said he won’t produce projects in the state until the measure is repealed, and he urged others in the entertainment industry to follow his lead.

ESPN, which was eyeing North Carolina as a possible host of the summer X Games, may now look elsewhere, and the same is true for the NBA, which planned to hold the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, but which may now seek a new venue.

Finally, it just so happens that the attorney general of North Carolina who is refusing to defend the law – Roy Cooper – is a Democrat who is running against McCrory for governor this year. All this sets up what is likely to be a fascinating race to watch.

In the annals of “how Republicans are creating a mess in the states,” North Carolina just joined the growing group of examples.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.