In the week since it was signed, North Carolina’s controversial new law restricting transgender rights has drawn fierce criticism from across the country. Elected officials from Seattle to San Francisco to New York have ordered their employees to steer clear of the state. Big businesses like American Airlines and Wells Fargo have said they are worried about the law. Small businesses have said they will skip conventions in North Carolina.
The NBA even hinted it might move its 2017 All-Star Game, scheduled to take place in Charlotte.
And then there’s the federal lawsuit filed against North Carolina by two transgender individuals and an array of civil liberties groups.
But the issue only reached full fiasco level on Tuesday, when, in equally fiery statements, the state’s Republican governor and its Democratic Attorney General lambasted one another.
“Not only is this new law a national embarrassment, it will set North Carolina’s economy back,” said Roy Cooper, the AG, who also refused to defend the state against the lawsuit.
“We’re talking about discrimination here,” he said.
Shortly after Cooper’s dramatic press conference, Gov. Pat McCrory — who signed the law March 23 and has staunchly defended it — accused Cooper of breaking his oath of office.
“As the state’s attorney, he can’t select which laws he will defend and which laws are politically expedient to refuse to defend,” McCrory said in a video statement. One GOP state senator called on Cooper to resign.
Underlying the spat is the fact that Cooper and McCrory will face off in the November election, considered one of the most competitive and crucial gubernatorial races in the country.