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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 1, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 14
I can't defend anti-LGBT law, North Carolina AG says

Republicans demand his resignation
Section One
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I can't defend anti-LGBT law, North Carolina AG says

Republicans demand his resignation

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said on March 29 that he will not defend the state's sweeping anti-LGBT law against a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and Equality North Carolina.

'We should not even be here today, but we are,' Cooper said at a press conference. 'We're here because the governor has signed statewide legislation that puts discrimination into the law.

'House Bill 2 is unconstitutional. Therefore, our office will not represent the defendants in this lawsuit, nor future lawsuits involving the constitutionality of House Bill 2.'

The bill, rushed through in a special legislative session on March 23, does three things:

o it excludes Transgender people from gender-appropriate restrooms,

o it forbids North Carolina municipalities from passing ordinances protecting sexual orientation and gender identity, and

o it forbids municipalities from raising the minimum wage.

According to Cooper, the newly passed law is in direct conflict with nondiscrimination policies at North Carolina's justice department and treasurer's office, as well as many of the state's businesses. Though the LGBT community is targeted, he said, it could ultimately result in discrimination against other groups as well.

The ACLU suit agrees that the new law damages a wide section of North Carolina residents, not merely the Trans community.

'While the discriminatory, stated focus of the legislature in passing HB 2 - the use of restrooms by transgender people - is on its own illegal and unconstitutional, HB 2 in facts wreaks far greater damage by also prohibiting local governments in North Carolina from enacting express antidiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity,' the lawsuit says.

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger responded to Cooper's announcement with a demand that he resign.

'Roy Cooper's refusal to defend the law makes clear he wants the ACLU to win by default in federal court what they can't win at the ballot box and allow men to walk into locker rooms at YMCAs across our country and undress in front of young girls,' said Berger.

'His zeal for pandering for the extreme left's money and agenda in his race for governor is making it impossible for him to fulfill his duties as attorney general - and he should resign immediately.'

Cooper is a Democrat and is running for governor of the state in this year's election.

Meanwhile, outrage at the North Carolina law swept the country.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed an executive order March 28 banning official city travel to the state.

'It is my hope for our nation that we do not allow issues of discrimination to divide us,' Murray said at a press conference. 'Our union is only made stronger when all Americans are treated equitably.'

Murray also committed to signing additional executive orders to ban official city travel to any state that follows in North Carolina's footsteps.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee followed suit on March 30, banning official state travel to North Carolina.

Inslee noted that Washington law requires buildings open to the public to allow Transgender people to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

Banning travel to North Carolina is 'consistent with our state's approach to tolerance, fairness, and a lack of discrimination,' Inslee said to reporters. 'And I do think these things - they're mostly symbolic - but symbolism is important when it comes to ending discrimination in our country.'

Seattle and Washington state join Vermont, New York State, New York City, Portland, and San Francisco is banning all official travel to North Carolina.

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