US POLITICS

LGBT Groups Applaud North Carolina Governor’s Defeat

Pat McCrory supported a discriminatory law that cost the state millions of dollars. Now he's out of a job.

US POLITICS
Boy bye — REUTERS
Dec 05, 2016 at 4:18 PM ET

North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, a Republican and one of the biggest proponents of a state law that discriminated against gay and transgender people, has finally admitted defeat in his re-election bid to Democrat Roy Cooper. Now, the LGBT community is celebrating his loss.

In a video message posted Monday on McCrory’s social media accounts, the soon-to-be-former governor said it was time to “respect” what he believes is the true result of the gubernatorial election: he lost. Since the vote in November, McCrory has refused to concede, rallying supporters to ask for recounts, alleging that there were “potentially fraudulent” absentee ballots, and accusing his opponent, Roy Cooper, of being “desperate” and “trying to circumvent the electoral process.”

With this, McCrory becomes the first North Carolina governor to lose a re-election bid since governors were allowed to run for re-election in 1970, as The News & Observer points out. He also lost to a Democrat in a state that supported Republican Donald Trump in the presidential vote. Cooper’s lead was extremely slim — just over 10,000 votes — but the margin marks a big reversal, compared to McCrory’s 11 percent margin of victory in 2012.

Some people are attributing that loss to a controversial law that had one of its biggest cheerleaders in McCrory. HB2, or the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, said that people can only use bathrooms that corresponded with the sex on their birth certificates in government buildings, thereby preventing transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity. It also forbid municipalities from enacting anti-discrimination ordinances that would protect members of the LGBT community. Corporations, sports leagues, and even other states boycotted North Carolina, costing the state an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars. Cooper, the state’s attorney general, was an early opponent of the law, calling it a “national embarrassment” that he refused to defend.

McCrory stood by the law even as polls said that it was unpopular with both Democrat and Republican voters (not just because of the people it discriminated against but also because of the economic impact and loss of jobs resulting from the boycott). Well, now he is out of a job. Too bad all those businesses with all those jobs decided not to expand their operations in the state because of HB2! McCrory could probably use them right about now.

Gay and transgender rights groups are applauding Cooper’s win as well as McCrory’s historic loss.

GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement sent to Vocativ that Cooper’s win sent “a mandate to lawmakers that Americans will not stand for anti-LGBTQ discrimination.” She added that “GLAAD looks forward to working with the Governor-elect in continuing the fight to repeal the discriminatory HB2 law and to deepening North Carolina’s commitment to acceptance, diversity, and equality.”

The National Center for Transgender Equality tweeted a statement from its executive director, Mara Keisling, saying that McCrory “paid the price” for “terroriz[ing] transgender children and adults.”

Transgender Law Center executive director Kris Hayashi told Vocativ that “HB2 was rushed through by legislators and the governor in a single day without giving the people of North Carolina an opportunity to weigh in. The people have now had that opportunity, and by voting out Governor McCrory, they have rejected his efforts to target and discriminate against workers and transgender members of their communities.”

And the Human Rights Campaign called McCrory’s loss a “watershed moment,” with president Chad Griffin saying that McCrory’s “stubborn and reckless support of HB2 cost him this election, and his defeat sends a powerful warning to lawmakers across the country that targeting LGBTQ people will not be tolerated.”

Cooper said in a statement that he is “proud to have received the support from so many who believe that we can come together to make a North Carolina that works for everyone.”