A controversial new ad that ties Democrat Roy Cooper to Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance is the same one that helped overturn a similar ordinance last year in Houston.
Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the N.C. Values Coalition, called the 30-second spot “an incredibly powerful new ad” in a message to supporters Wednesday.
The ad opens with a narrator saying, “Roy Cooper’s bathroom plan – what does it mean to you?”
It goes on to say, “Any man at any time could enter a woman’s bathroom simply by claiming to be a woman that day.” It closes with pictures of a girl walking into a bathroom stall and a man coming menacingly out of an adjacent stall.
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Last year the same ad ran in Houston, where it was credited with helping defeat an ordinance that also extended LGBT protections. “It opens with the narrator saying, ‘Houston’s Proposition 1 bathroom ordinance. What does it mean to you?’ ” The ad contains the same script and same images.
The North Carolina ad refers to a Charlotte ordinance passed earlier this year that extended nondiscrimination protections to the LGBT community. It would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity.
The ordinance was nullified by the General Assembly’s House Bill 2, which banned local governments from passing similar anti-discrimination ordinances and requires transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate in government buildings.
In 2014, Houston passed an ordinance similar to Charlotte’s. The measure banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in addition to sex, race and other factors. The ordinance was put to a vote as Proposition 1 in November 2015. More than 60 percent of voters rejected it.
Cooper, the Democrat challenging Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, opposes HB2. McCrory signed the bill last spring.
“HB 2 is about discriminating against North Carolinians for Pat McCrory’s political gain – and this shameful, exploitative ad proves it,” Cooper spokesman Ford Porter said. “(E)ven the North Carolina Republican Party admitted that HB2 does nothing to protect families from sexual predators and should be repealed.”
In a mailer paid for by the state Republican Party, GOP Rep. Chris Malone of Wake County called for a full repeal of HB2.
“HB2 is costing Wake County and North Carolina too much,” Malone said in the mailer.
Fitzgerald said, “There have been so many lies about HB2 and its impact that we had to remind voters about the truth and what the law is really about – protecting the safety and privacy our daughters and of women in public bathrooms and changing facilities.”