In a sign that Wednesday’s special legislative session on a Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance will become an issue in the governor’s race, Attorney General Roy Cooper posted a video opposing the General Assembly’s action.
“Discrimination is wrong, period,” Cooper says in the video, which was posted as the House debated a bill to replace local nondiscrimination ordinances with a state law that doesn’t include LGBT status among protected categories. “That North Carolina is making discrimination part of the law is shameful. It will not only cause real harm to families, but to our economy as well.”
Cooper hadn’t previously taken a position on the Charlotte City Council’s action, which is controversial because it allows transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. He had said only that the issue was a local matter and that the legislature shouldn’t intervene.
And while Gov. Pat McCrory didn’t issue the call for a special session, Cooper blamed his Republican opponent for the legislature’s action. McCrory said the legislature should revoke the Charlotte ordinance, but he said a special session shouldn’t go beyond the bathroom issue.
“Gov. McCrory started us down this path, promising legislative action for political gain,” Cooper said. “Now the legislature is taking unprecedented actions that will threaten our economy. He lit the match then stood aside as the fire grew out of control.”
Cooper’s statement came hours after the N.C. Republican Party posted an online ad criticizing Cooper for not opposing the Charlotte ordinance.
“The reason lawmakers were forced to call a special session in the first place was because Roy Cooper’s campaign supporters on the Charlotte City Council brought this measure up in the first place and Cooper refused to do his job and take action to protect families and children as attorney general,” NCGOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse said in a news release.
Cooper’s video does not directly mention transgender people or bathrooms.