North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory makes remarks concerning House Bill 2 while speaking during a government affairs conference in Raleigh, N.C., May 4, 2016. 
Photo by Gerry Broome/AP

NC’s McCrory still struggling to defend controversial HB 2

Four years ago, Republican Pat McCrory cruised to an easy victory in his gubernatorial campaign. This year is proving to be far more difficult.
Recent polling suggests the GOP incumbent is in a very tight race against state Attorney General Roy Cooper – three polls since early July show the Democrat in the lead – and McCrory is still having to deal with the fallout of his controversial anti-LGBT law, generally known as HB 2.
The national blowback to the culture-war measure took a toll on McCrory’s political standing, but WRAL in Raleigh reported yesterday that the governor’s re-election campaign is defending the policy in a curious new television ad.
The campaign rolled out [an] ad with no announcement or discernable social media push. That ad features a sexual abuse survivor and slams Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is running against McCrory, for not defending House Bill 2, a measure which, among other things, requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom corresponding with their birth gender.
“At nine, I was molested by a teenager,” a woman named Gina Little says in the ad, titled “The Truth About Roy Cooper.”
“When I found out that President Obama and Roy Cooper want to force school children to share the same locker room, shower and restroom with someone who claims to be the opposite sex, I was horrified,” Little says. The ad goes on to praise McCrory’s efforts to defend House Bill 2 against a federal lawsuit.
The governor’s team has had months to come up with a strong defense for HB 2. If this ad is the best McCrory’s aides have come up with, that’s not a good sign.
The point is not to diminish the pain of the woman featured in the ad, who was the victim of a horrible crime. Rather, the point is the disconnect between what happened to Gina Little and the purpose of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law.
Let’s not forget how we reached this point: city officials in Charlotte approved a broad anti-discrimination measure, which included protections for transgender North Carolinians, allowing people to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity. The Republican governor and state legislature took action soon after, undoing what Charlotte had done.
Five months later, McCrory’s re-election campaign is defending the policy by pointing to a woman who was molested as a child in her home by members of her own family.
Perhaps the governor can explain how HB 2 relates in any way to what happened to Gina Little?