After Months of Digging in on Anti-LGBT HB2, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is Poised to Lose Reelection Bid

By Adam Polaski • November 10, 2016 • 2:17 pm

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory appears on the brink of defeat in the NC gubernatorial election, and his defeat spells positive news for supporters of LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination. McCrory is poised for a significant loss following his full-throttled defense of HB 2, a discriminatory law that knocks down local protections for LGBT North Carolinians and restricts public restroom access for transgender people.

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McCrory continued to support the clearly discriminatory law even as major corporations including PayPal, Deutsche Bank and CoStar canceled planned expansions into North Carolina, and athletic organizations including the NBA, NCAA and ACC pulled high-profile sporting events from the state. McCrory’s opponent, attorney general Roy Cooper, spoke out against the discriminatory law the day it passed.

Matt McTighe, Executive Director of Freedom for All Americans, said this week:

“HB 2 has bruised North Carolina’s economy and caused real harm to the transgender community. It now appears that Pat McCrory may very well lose his job because of his support for this hateful law. Lawmakers should take stock of the economic and political consequences this law has unleashed on their state, and repeal it immediately. Moreover, legislators in other states who are considering similar legislation should be warned that there are consequences to discriminating against LGBT people.

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McTighe also addressed the presumed victory in relation to the news of the presidential election.

“Many in the LGBT community are waking up this morning worried about what the future holds. But we don’t have a moment to rest – we have to get back to work and re-commit ourselves to the task ahead. There will be many challenges in states across the country when legislatures reconvene next year, but Pat McCrory’s likely defeat is proof that even in bleak electoral landscapes, discrimination against LGBT people will not go unnoticed.

Election night held several other steps forward for the LGBT community.

McTighe explained: “Beyond North Carolina, there were other bright spots last night that we should remember. These local victories are reminders that we can and will continue making progress in our communities. We will work harder than ever to share our stories, educate our neighbors about the urgent need for nondiscrimination protections, and pass laws that ensure everyone has the opportunity to go about their daily lives without fear of discrimination. There’s a lot of work to be done, and there is more urgency to our efforts than ever before.”

Check out some bright spots below.

Oregon Elects the Nation’s First Openly LGBT Governor

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Kate Brown became the first-ever openly LGBT person to be elected governor in the United States. Brown, who is bisexual, succeeded the former governor of Oregon but this week was elected overwhelmingly, blazing new trials for LGBT leaders.

Sam Park became the first openly gay man to win election the Georgia General Assembly.

Voters in State House district 101 in Georgia also made history, electing the first openly gay man to serve in the Georgia General Assembly. Sam Park, a Korean-American and openly gay man won his race and will serve in the Georgia House of Representatives starting in January.

Georgia Equality executive director Jeff Graham said: “The election of an openly gay man to the Georgia General Assembly represents just one more step on the road to full equality for LGBT people in Georgia. Sam Park will join a growing number of elected officials who will fight for the rights of LGBT people as we push for full state-wide nondiscrimination laws in the coming legislative session.”

Supporters of Transgender Public Accommodations Law in Massachusetts Retain Seats During Reelection Races

Elected officials who supported and voted for Massachusetts’ transgender protections law – which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations – overwhelmingly retained their seats tonight in the Bay State. Every legislator who voted in favor of the transgender law earlier this year retained their seat in this election.

That’s great news for supporters of comprehensive non-discrimination protections – it demonstrates solid support for these candidates and underlines the reality that Massachusetts voters affirm these values of fairness and equality for all citizens.

Opponents of transgender equality, unfortunately, have pushed #TransLawMA onto the ballot – a very small number of voters (less than 1%) signed a petition to force the law to a referendum. The state will vote on the law in November 2018. Freedom for All Americans was proud to serve as a leading and founding partner of Freedom Massachusetts, the campaign to pass the transgender protections law.

Candidate Who Opposed Anti-LGBT RFRA Legislation Elected as West Virginia Governor

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In West Virginia, business owner Jim Justice won the race for Governor.

Last year, while West Virginia was discussing a bill that would allow businesses to turn away LGBT people for service just because of who they are or who they love, Justice, who is a small business owner, said that he would not turn away LGBT people from his own business – and he said that West Virginia should not pursue anti-LGBT legislation like this. His spokesperson said:

“We shouldn’t shoot ourselves in the foot by turning away tourism and businesses; we need to be a welcoming state that can attract new jobs. Indiana lost $60 million in tourism alone — West Virginia does not need to head down that road. We would never turn anyone away at The Greenbrier.”

Steve Bullock Secures Reelection in Montana, Nearly a Year After Signing LGBT Executive Order

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Good news out of Montana, where Governor Steve Bullock won his reelection race. Governor Bullock is a strong supporter of LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections.

Just under a year ago, in January 2016, Governor Bullock issued an executive order that protects state employees and government contractors from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Previously in Montana, state employees were protected from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, per a previous executive order. The order takes effect immediately.

“Montana is a place that welcomes all people and recognizes the value of diversity,” Governor Bullock said in his announcement. “Montana is likely to face a worker shortage over the next decade, and this shortage will be exacerbated by discrimination that drives away talented and trained workers who want to live in a place where they are free from discrimination and harassment.”

Executive orders like Governor Bullock’s send a strong message that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender public employees should be treated fairly and equally – and they mark an important step forward in states without statewide non-discrimination protections. We look forward to seeing continued steps forward in Montana in the coming years.

New Hampshire Elects Maggie Hassan, Strong LGBT Equality Supporter, to Senate

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Congratulations to Maggie Hassan, who was elected to the United States Senate in New Hampshire. In June of this year, Hassan signed executive order protecting #transgender people in New Hampshire. The executive order afforded much-needed protections to transgender state employees and contractors. While New Hampshire’s state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there are no protections for gender identity, meaning transgender people across the Granite State live in fear of discrimination. New Hampshire is one of three states – including New York and Wisconsin – that protect gay and lesbian residents but lack transgender protections.

Transgender Candidates Run Strong Congressional Races, Blaze Trail for Future Trans Leaders

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We’re also cheering on Misty Plowright, a Coloradan who ran for United States Representative, and Misty K. Snow, who hails from Utah and was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate. The women did not win their races today – but they blazed a remarkable trail for transgender people everywhere. Plowright and Snow are the first-ever openly transgender candidates to secure congressional nominations for a major party – and while they may have come up short today, we know that their futures are bright, and the steps forward they have taken will reverberate throughout history. Transgender Americans, of course, can do anything that any cisgender person can do – and when our country at last embraces fully inclusive non-discrimination protections, transgender people will come closer to attaining the support and understanding they need to live freely and fairly nationwide.


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