North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory defended his state’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 on Meet the Press today, describing it as a reaction to “government overreach” by the Charlotte City Council in its antidiscrimination ordinance.
“I will always call out government overreach,” the Republican governor told host Chuck Todd.
Todd pressed him on whether the state law was government overreach, in preventing municipalities from enacted LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances and nullifying those in existence. McCrory contended that anti-LGBT discrimination isn’t a problem in North Carolina. “I don’t know of any business in North Carolina … that is doing this,” he said.
As for the restroom provisions of the law — barring trangender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and so forth that match their gender identity, when those facilities are located in government buildings — McCrory cast that as a protection of privacy, and not “allowing a man” in a women’s restroom or locker room. Todd pressed him on that as well, to no avail.
Charlotte’s ordinance would have expressly allowed trans people access to the facilities for their gender identity, in both government and private-sector buildings, and would have prohibited other anti-LGBT discrimination in public accommodations —a restaurant, taxi service, caterer, or other business would be forbidden to turn away customers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. But it was the restroom provision of the law that was the most controversial, and McCrory defended the state’s action to strike that down. “I’m not the private sector’s HR director,” he said.
He claimed there was insufficient dialogue before Charlotte’s adoption of the ordinance, which came a year after a similar one was voted down. He also claimed to have had “wonderful dialogue” with a transgender woman.
Many major businesses have condemned the North Carolina law and canceled events or expansion plans in the state. Several entertainers have canceled performances there or else donated the proceeds of their shows to LGBT charities. And at least nine cities and four states have banned official employee travel to the state. When Todd pointed out the business North Carolina had lost, McCrory’s reaction was “We’ve got to have more dialogue and not threats.”
In other segments of Meet the Press, conservatives, liberals, and objective reporters alike criticized McCrory. Right-leaning columnist Kathleen Parker called McCrory’s defense “bogus,” and NBC reporter Perry Bacon said McCrory made a “mistake” in signing the bill. Earlier in the show, actor and liberal activist George Clooney called anti-LGBT laws “ridiculous.”
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin released a statement denouncing the governor, saying, “Today, a nation watched as Gov. McCrory invoked an outdated and retrograde argument to defend his decision to write discrimination into state law and deny equal treatment under the law for LGBT people. Pat McCrory can’t have it both ways and say he doesn’t want the government to tell the private sector what to do while he also sticks his head in the sand and ignores more than 160 businesses who have clearly said they want HB 2 repealed.” HRC also notes that polls have shown that many LGBT North Carolinians have experienced discrimination and that a majority of state residents oppose HB 2.
Watch the full episode of Meet the Press below, and then HRC’s “True or False” video on McCrory’s claims.