Under the Dome

McCrory reiterates objection to ‘religious freedom’ bill

Gov. Pat McCrory restated his opposition to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a stop at a Cary charter school on Thursday.

Bills similar to the legislation passed by Indiana and Arkansas lawmakers have been filed in North Carolina.

House Speaker Tim Moore said this week the chamber would be in no rush to move the bill, and that he wanted to know how such a law would affect North Carolina’s brand.

Senate leader Phil Berger said in an interview that the Senate “has made no decision as to what we intend to do.”

“I do think that the filing of the bills and what we’re seeing in other places brings up a lot of questions that probably do need to be talked about,” Berger said. “And people need to not only talk about them, but people need to listen to other people.”

Berger said he did not expect any decisions soon.

McCrory wouldn’t say Thursday whether he’d veto the bill if it passed.

“I don’t respond to what I’ll do,” he said, adding that he has “clearly stated my objection.”

The legislation’s supporters say it will protect people as they exercise the religious liberty guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Critics say it will give legal cover to businesses and individuals who discriminate against gays and lesbians.

The legislation triggered political tidal waves in Indiana and Arkansas.

He called the response “an over-reaction on the part of the left and the right,” and said he was focused on jobs, education, and building the economy.

“I’m going to focus on the issues that are most important to the people of North Carolina,” he said.

McCrory also criticized governors who banned state-funded travel to Indiana while its law stands.

McCrory made the comments at Cardinal Charter Academy in Cary, one in a chain of schools managed by Charter Schools USA.

McCrory toured the school, which is in its first year, spoke to members of the school’s student council, and met behind closed doors with Charter Schools USA CEO Jon Hage.

Hage said he also met with legislators on this trip. The company has three schools in the state and wants to expand, Hage said. The other two charters the company manages in the state are in Mooresville and Concord.

“It’s really important to replicate successful schools,” he said.

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