Gov. Pat McCrory released a video and lengthy statement in response to Attorney General Roy Cooper announcing Tuesday that his office will not defend House Bill 2. Here is the governor’s full response:
“Hi, I’m North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.
“In the 50 plus years since I’ve lived in North Carolina I’ve learned that the people of North Carolina love each other and they respect their differences. Even when those differences conflict with their beliefs and values. “Time and time again I’ve witnessed the people of North Carolina put aside their disagreements and come together to accommodate and work out solutions, while still respecting each other’s beliefs and backgrounds.
“Time and time again I’ve witnessed the people of North Carolina put aside their disagreements and come together to accommodate and work out solutions, while still respecting each other’s beliefs and backgrounds.
“I’ve also witnessed politicians who have exploited differences and divided our people. Instead of living up to the North Carolina tradition of respecting those with whom they disagree they’ve demonized our state for political gain. And that is not acceptable.
“Some have called our state an embarrassment. The real embarrassment is politicians not publicly respecting each other’s positions on complex issues.
“Unfortunately, that has occurred when legislation was passed to protect men women and children when they use a public restroom, shower or lockerroom. That is an expectation of privacy that must be honored and respected.
“Instead, North Carolina has been the target of a vicious, nation-wide smear campaign. Disregarding the facts, other politicians, from the White House to mayors and city council members and yes our Attorney General, have initiated and promoted conflict to advance their political agenda. Even if it means defying the constitution and their oath of office.
“Obeying the laws of the land, living up to the duties of the office and defending the constitution is the foundation of my governorship. I am standing up to the president of the United States to prevent federal overreach to take over our North Carolina waters in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
“I even stood up to the legislative leaders of my own party when they took powers not delegated to them in the North Carolina constitution, and our Supreme Court agreed.
“Now I’m standing up to the Attorney General of North Carolina who today refused to fulfill his oath of office to defend the people of North Carolina in a lawsuit filed over the privacy of our restrooms. As the state’s attorney, he can’t select which laws he will defend and which laws are politically expedient to refuse to defend.
“His excuse that his own internal policies would be affected is wrong. All employment policies for cities and corporations and the Attorney General’s own policies remain the same. The Attorney General is inventing conflict that simply doesn’t exist.
“When you are the state’s lawyer, you are a lawyer first and a politician second. Therefore, I encourage the Attorney General to reconsider his flawed logic. I am fulfilling my oath of office and we expect him to do the same.
“As elected officials we don’t get to choose the perfect circumstances that surround the decisions we have to make under the constitution.
“I did not call for a special session. I expressed concerns over some of the provisions that were in the legislation. But at the end of the day the General Assembly acted within the provisions of the constitution and presented me with a bill that, while it may not be perfect, provided protection of our basic expectation of privacy in public restrooms and locker rooms.
“I signed that bill because if I didn’t, on April 1, the expectation of privacy of North Carolina citizens could be violated.
“This is not about demonizing one group of people. Let’s put aside our differences, the political rhetoric and yes, hypocrisy, and work on solutions that will make this bill better in the future.
“And to the people and businesses of North Carolina: we are a state of inclusiveness, openness and diversity.
“I believe in North Carolina, its people and our democratic process. And I will not shy away from taking the responsibility to do what it takes to make our state better.
“Those were the values I learned more than 50 years ago when I first came to North Carolina and I will continue to uphold those values as your governor.
“May God Bless you and the people of North Carolina.”
—Governor Pat McCrory, March 29, 2016RELATED LINKS