Politics & Government

LGBT groups, critical of NC Gov. Cooper, press him to adopt further protections

HB2 deal announced in late-night press conference

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, announce late Wednesday that legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper have reached a deal to repeal House Bill 2. Neither Moore nor Berger took questions, saying tha
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House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, announce late Wednesday that legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper have reached a deal to repeal House Bill 2. Neither Moore nor Berger took questions, saying tha

Gay rights groups continued to voice their frustration with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in a letter to the governor that asks him to take administrative steps to ensure protections for the LGBT community.

The national Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina made the requests in a June 30 letter to the governor.

They also said they remain “deeply disappointed” in the passage of House Bill 142, which repealed HB2 – the bathroom bill – but restricted state and local governments from adopting LGBT protections.

“We need the bold, decisive leadership you promised and a seat at the table when it comes to our civil rights,” the letter said.

In a statement, Cooper spokesman Ford Porter said, “Gov. Cooper is continuing to work with stakeholders to expand protections for LGBT North Carolinians through an executive order.

“His preference is a statewide non-discrimination law, but unfortunately that’s not an idea this legislature is willing to take up.”

The letter from HRC President Chad Griffin and Equality North Carolina’s acting executive director Matt Hirschy reflects the LGBT community’s simmering resentment over the March passage of HB 142.

The bill capped months of negotiations to repeal HB2, the law that required transgender people to use the bathroom in government buildings corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate. The law thrust North Carolina into headlines – and punch lines – around the country. It cost the state lost jobs, performances and sporting events, including ACC and NCAA championships as well as Charlotte’s NBA All-Star Game.

HB 142 repealed the law, but pre-empted state agencies from expanding bathroom access and barred local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances for four years.

The compromise bill came after long hours of negotiations between the Democratic governor and Republican lawmakers who passed HB2 in 2016. They were aided by a group of state business leaders, who wanted HB2 off the books.

But for LGBT leaders, that came at too high a cost.

In the letter, they accuse Cooper of “selling us out.”

“By banning nondiscrimination protections all across the state, you have not only prolonged harm to the LGBTQ community – but also communities of color, women, veterans, workers and others,” they wrote. “HB142 merely repackages the discrimination of HB2 and calls it by a different name.”

They asked the governor to use executive orders to require state employees be trained in anti-discrimination practices and make sure people receiving state services don’t experience “anti-LGBTQ discrimination or harassment.”

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059, @jimmorrill

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