A variety of Republican governors, even in the Deep South, have been cautious about approving anti-LGBT measures, fearing an economic backlash. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R), however, appears to support a more ambitious approach to fighting a conservative culture war.
Discrimination law puts NC in legal hot seatMarch 29, 201608:45
With private-sector leaders ready to punish North Carolina, and a federal lawsuit now filed, McCrory responded to the criticism yesterday by blaming the media and progressive activists for creating "political theater" and a "calculated smear campaign."
In an interview with NBC News, McCrory, a Republican who is running for re-election, said he would not back down from the measure.... He cast himself as a voice of reason, standing against an assault on "the norms and etiquette" that have existed for generations. And he said the law doesn't discriminate against anyone. "This political correctness has gone amok," he said.
There are some questions, however, about whether or not the governor fully understands the new law he just created after a rushed legislative push. The News & Observer reported yesterday, for example, that the new policy appears to revoke a fair housing ordinance in Greensboro and a policy governing municipal contracts in Raleigh.
Asked for a response, McCrory, who signed H.B. 2 into law last week, said, "I've been traveling all day, so you're telling me something I'm not aware of."
The governor's spokesperson later argued that the law doesn't affect local housing ordinances, but he said he's "still not sure" about the impact on other types of ordinances.
It's not unreasonable to think McCrory and his GOP allies should have worked out these details before changing the state's discrimination laws.
While the governor gets up to speed on the specifics of the law he created, he should also prepare for some economic fallout. The city and state of New York, for example, announced yesterday that all non-essential state travel to North Carolina has been scrapped because of the new measure that "creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people."
What's more, as we discussed yesterday, film director Rob Reiner has said he won't produce projects in the state until the measure is repealed, and he urged others in the entertainment industry to follow his lead.
ESPN, which was eyeing North Carolina as a possible host of the summer X Games, may now look elsewhere, and the same is true for the NBA, which planned to hold the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, but which may now seek a new venue.