Seven questions McCrory still must answer a month after he signed HB2

By: - April 26, 2016 12:41 pm

McCrory_questIt has now been more than a month since Gov. Pat McCrory signed the sweeping anti-LGBT law HB2 and ignited widespread protests in North Carolina and around the country with corporations cancelling planned expansions in the state and groups shifting conventions and meetings to other places, costing the state millions in tourism dollars.

For most of the last month, McCrory has dodged questions from local reporters about HB2, preferring instead to issue video statements and appearing once on Meet the Press in Washington.

McCrory did respond to a few questions this week after an appearance in Wilmington at a meeting of the NC Sheriff’s Association, but his responses left many questions unanswered.

Here then for the third time are seven questions that Gov. McCrory has yet to answer about HB2.

1) Why does he believe that it should be legal in North Carolina for businesses to fire and deny services to LGBT people?

The Charlotte ordinance that McCrory’s law overturned prohibited companies from firing LGBT workers because of their sexual orientation just like they are banned from firing employees because of their race, religion, gender, country of origin, etc.

McCrory’s executive order does extend protections to some LGBT state employees—though notably not teachers—and when McCrory was asked why he did support extending that to all workers in the state, he said that government should not set the employment policies for private businesses.

McCrory said on Meet the Press that he does not think government should be “the HR director for every business.”

Does that mean he doesn’t think the government should be able to tell businesses they can’t fire workers based on their race or religion either?

2) Why is Gov. McCrory repeating a talking point used by other supporters of HB2 that is blatantly false?

McCrory claimed this week that the state nondiscrimination standard in HB2 that does not include sexual orientation or gender identity is the same thing 27 other states are doing.

But that is simply not true.

The states McCrory refers to have nondiscrimination standards that do not include sexual orientation or gender identity but they include sex as a category that is protected. Federal courts and the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission have interpreted that to provide protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

McCrory’s HB2 does not include sex as a protected category, it includes instead “biological sex” to make sure that LGBT  people are not protected.

In other words, the law McCrory signed goes out of its way to make sure that people can legally be fired or denied services based on their sexual orientation.

McCrory’s claim that 27 other states have the same nondiscrimination standard is a falsehood.

3) Does McCrory stand by his claim that the economic damage to North Carolina created by HB2 would not have much effect on the state?

The job losses directly caused by his signing of HB2 now number in the thousands and the loss of tourism dollars is at least in the tens of millions with new announcement coming every day.

Monday the Kellogg Foundation announced it was cancelling a four-day conference in Asheville that would have brought 500 people to the area with a local economic impact of 1.5 million.

4) Why has McCrory still produced no evidence that allowing transgender people to use the public bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity will endanger women and children?

McCrory and other HB2 supporters have repeatedly said that the law is needed to protect the safety of women and children in public bathrooms.

But McCrory has yet to provide any evidence that there have been problems in the 17 states and 200+ cities with ordinances like Charlotte’s that allow transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. And it has been a month.

McCrory has also not released any information he received from local officials in Columbia, S.C. or Des Moines, or Minneapolis or any other city that grants transgender people the basic dignity provided in the Charlotte ordinance.

Surely McCrory or his staff researched the issue and reached out to their counterparts in other cities before he signed HB2. Or did they?

5) Gov. McCrory said again this week that wants the General Assembly to restore the right of someone who is illegally fired because of race, religion, sex, etc. to sue in state court.

HB2 removed that right, leaving North Carolina as the only state other than Mississippi that denies its citizens access to state courts when they are illegally fired.

McCrory has been asked why he signed a bill that took away that right and previously said it was because the Charlotte ordinance went into effect April 1 and he wanted the bill passed before then.

But McCrory signed the bill March 23rd, leaving lawmakers ten days to pass a narrower version of HB2 if he vetoed it.

This week McCrory he said he signed the bill because he didn’t have line item veto.

Why did McCrory think it was more important to pass a bill to address a bathroom problem that he can provide no evidence to show even exists than it was to protect the right of someone fired because of their race from suing in state court?

6) Why did McCrory not demand that lawmakers delay action on HB2 until the federal appeals court ruled on a case in Virginia involving a transgender male student forced to use a woman’s bathroom in school?

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last week ruled in favor of the student’s right to use the bathroom that corresponds to his gender identity, a case that directly affects the law in North Carolina which is part of the Fourth Circuit.

McCrory is well acquainted with the case, as he signed on with an amicus brief last fall in support of the Virginia school district and blasted Attorney General Roy Cooper for refusing to do so.

7) And finally, why do McCrory and his staff continue to refer to the opposition to HB2 as a coordinated smear campaign run by the “politically correct elite?”

This week the Charlotte Business Journal reported that prominent Charlotte developer Johnny Harris said HB2 was hurting “every aspect of business in Charlotte.”  Harris has supported McCrory in the past and his comments come after similar remarks from other prominent business leaders in state, including former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl, a man McCrory has described as a visionary.

Surely McCrory doesn’t think Harris and McColl are part of left-wing mob smearing North Carolina.

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066