The race for governor in North Carolina is nail-bitingly close. Republican Governor Pat McCrory has been bogged down for the last six months defending House Bill 2, the state's controversial "bathroom bill." His opponent, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper wants it repealed. That position is supported by gay rights groups and they're making it known. Two leaders of the LGBT movement were in Asheville stumping for Cooper on Thursday and Friday. Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC and Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the national's largest gay rights group, stopped by WCQS to talk about Cooper, McCrory, and HB2.
HB2 was passed by the legislature and signed by McCrory after Charlotte passed its own non-discrimination ordinance. HB2 repealed that ordinance and required transgender people to use public facilities corresponding with the sex on their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity. It also created statewide protections excluding sexual orientation and gender identity and banned local municipalities from passing their own. Backlash to the bill was swift, with entertainers boycotting the state, conferences leaving, business expansions canceled, and sporting events moved. The damage is estimated to be at least in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Just Monday, the city of Charlotte learned it was losing out on another 730 jobs and hundred of millions in investment. But McCrory and Republican leaders have refused to back down on the bill, calling it a commonsense law that protects women and children from sexual predators in public restrooms and locker rooms.
Early voting is already underway in North Carolina. You can find hours and locations of early voting sites by visiting your county's board of elections website.