McCrory tries to sidestep HB 2 fallout



North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says the state legislature may consider repealing H.B. 2, but only if the city of Charlotte repeals its LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance first.

Charlotte mayor warns McCrory not to blame her city for his mistake

Lisa Keen |   Keen News Service

North Carolina is a battleground on two fronts these days: Over the state’s recently enacted anti-LGBT law and over the political race for the White House.


Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said her city is “a welcoming community that honors and respects all people.”

And at least one of those battles could come to a major turning point this week.

In a strange twist, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday, Sept. 16, said he’d call a special session of the state legislature this week to consider repealing HB2 — but only if the city of Charlotte first repealed its non-discrimination law. That law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as race, sex, and other categories.

According to local news reports, McCrory’s communication office issued this statement Friday:

“For the last nine months, the governor has consistently said state legislation is only needed if the Charlotte ordinance remains in place. If the Charlotte City Council totally repeals the ordinance and then we can confirm there is support to repeal among the majority of state lawmakers in the House and Senate, the governor will call a special session. It is the governor’s understanding that legislative leaders and the lieutenant governor agree with that assessment.”

Charlotte City Council rejected a proposal in May where the legislature said it would “amend” HB2 in return for Charlotte’s repeal of its non-discrimination law. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts issued a statement today (Monday morning, Sept. 19, that left no impression the Council would consider repealing its ordinance.

“The city of Charlotte continues its commitment to be a welcoming community that honors and respects all people,” read the statement from Roberts. “We appreciate the state wanting to find a solution to the challenges we are facing and applaud the governor for recognizing the state should overturn HB2, which the state can do at any time without any action from the city of Charlotte.

“We are not prepared to add this item to our agenda this evening, however, we urge the state to take action as soon as possible and encourage continued dialogue with the broader community,” Roberts’ statement continued.

The statewide LGBT group Equality North Carolina and the national Human Rights Campaign issued both statements Friday urging Charlotte to reject the proposal.

“It would require Charlotte to drop the very protections for the LGBTQ community that businesses, the NCAA and other organizations have now made clear are needed and are a priority,” said JoDee Winterhof, an HRC senior vice president.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal also issued statements opposing the idea.

“The reason the NBA, NCAA and countless other groups and companies have refused to do business in North Carolina is because H.B. 2 is an unprecedented and targeted attack on the LGBT community that is inconsistent with American values — not because Charlotte commendably decided to protect LGBT people from discrimination,” said Simone Bell, the southern regional director for Lambda Legal.

Meanwhile, the state is still wincing as major corporations and events continue to pull out of the state, citing their opposition to HB2. Just this month, both the NCAA and the ACC college athletic organizations announced they would not hold championship tournaments in North Carolina.

Those announcements set off a political earthquake in the state, which was already reeling from a wave of cancellations — from classic concerts to pop concerts, to travel by employees from New York and other states, to more than 60 major corporations filing statements in opposition to HB2 and, in many cases, putting a halt on their plans for conferences or to build in the state.

Wired magazine estimates the state has already lost almost $400 million because of the law. The NCAA and ACC decisions alone cost North Carolina more than $90 million, says Wired.

Not surprisingly, then, Gov. McCrory — who, according to most recent polls, is trailing Democrat Roy Cooper in that state’s gubernatorial contest — is racing to find a way to stop further damage.

Earlier in the month, he asked a federal district court judge to delay the trial challenging HB2 from November until May, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court might take up a similar case from Virginia. Lambda Legal’s national legal director, Jon Davidson, said his group agreed to the delay after the federal court granted a stay of the law as it applies to transgender people at the University of North Carolina.

On Friday, McCrory dropped one of his two counter lawsuits and issued the statement, hoping to persuade Charlotte to repeal its law so the state could declare HB2 no longer necessary.

The law, enacted last March, bars any local jurisdiction (not just Charlotte) from passing non-discrimination laws that exceed state law — and state law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. More notoriously, HB2 also bans transgender people from using any public restroom other than one assigned to a gender that matches their birth certificate.

Add to the economic and legal turmoil the fact that North Carolina is one of 12 states that pollsters say is uncertain in terms of the 2016 presidential election, and the implications of HB2 become even more dramatic.

Democrat Hillary Clinton has spoken out clearly against the law. Republican Donald Trump has sent mixed signals.

Speaking to a campaign audience in Greensboro, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 16, Clinton said, “I’m running for the LGBT teenager here in North Carolina who sees your governor sign a bill legalizing discrimination and suddenly feels like a second-class citizen.”

In her remarks, at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, she said she wanted to “make sure every person and, particularly, every child, no matter who they are, what they look like, or who they love, are part of the American dream now and way into the future. Let that be our message. Let that be our mission.” (

Trump initially said North Carolina would have “a lot of problems” for passing HB2 and suggested it was unnecessary.

“There has been so little trouble” regarding the use of bathrooms, he told the Today Show on April 21. But over time, he’s said the issue should be left to the individual states.

Asked about it in July, Trump told the News & Observer, “Well, I’m going with the state. The state knows what’s going on. They see what’s happening and, generally speaking, I’m with the state on things like this.

As of last Thursday, openly gay electoral data guru Nate Silver was predicting North Carolina to be leaning slightly toward Trump, 53 percent to 47 percent. Silver also dramatically downgraded Clinton’s chances of winning the White House — from 70 percent to 60 percent — following her previous weekend’s woes. On Sep. 9, Clinton described some of Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables,” a phrase that the Trump campaign meant Clinton thinks all Americans are deplorable. Two days later, Clinton collapsed outside a 9/11 memorial services and then took three days off to recover from pneumonia.

Analyzing many polls, Silver sees the state has being the fourth most likely to provide the “tipping” point in the Nov. 8 election (behind Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

© 2016 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.




—  Tammye Nash

ACC follows NCAA’s lead, pulls championships games from North Carolina


North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore claims that HB 2 was never about discrimination. Most people who are North Carolina Republicans are likely to call B.S. on that.

Just two days after the NCAA announced it is moving all its 2016-2017 championship events out of North Carolina, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced today, Wednesday, Sept. 14, that it is following suit.

The two college sports conferences made the move because of North Carolina’s state’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 — legislation hastily approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory last spring which negates all local LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws in the states and forbids transgender people to use appropriate public restroom facilities.

“The A.C.C. Council of Presidents made it clear that the core values of this league are of the utmost importance, and the opposition to any form of discrimination is paramount,” Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “Today’s decision is one of principle,” according to The New York Times.

Four of the ACC’s 15 members are in North Carolina, and the conference has its headquarters in Greensboro.

Clemson President James P. Clements told the NY Times that the decision to move the ACC championship games was not easy, but it “is consistent with the shared values of inclusion and nondiscrimination at all of our institutions.”

McCrory, who has adamantly defended HB 2 since he signed it and is now struggling to stay alive in his race for re-election against Democrat Roy Cooper, has not yet commented on the decisions by either conference. But Tim Moore, the speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, said the decisions were “very unfortunate.”

Moore said, “No one ever wants to lose events under any circumstances, but these organizations are certainly entitled to host their events wherever they choose. The truth remains that this law was never about and does not promote discrimination.”

Most folks disagree with Mr. Moore, to say the least.

—  Tammye Nash

N.C. gov. losing supporters


Gov. Pat McCrory

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who has been a steadfast supporter of the anti-transgender law HB2 despite overwhelming evidence of the damage the law has done to his state, has been steadily losing the support of North Carolinians.

McCrory faces N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper in a tight race for governor’s race. Cooper immediately condemned HB2 and has refused to defend the law in court.

In a Public Policy Polling survey, 58 percent of North Carolina voters said HB2 is hurting the state, compared to 22 percent who think it’s helping. Oddly, 19 percent actually believe HB2 has had a positive effect on the state’s national reputation.

The poll was taken after the NBA announced it would pull its 2017 All Star game from Charlotte. In addition, North Carolina has lost millions of dollars in lost conventions and tourism. Companies have pulled expansion plans from the state as a result of the passage of HB2.

Only 43 percent approve of McCrory’s job performance while 47 percent disapprove. Fewer people know Cooper with 36 percent with a favorable opinion of him and 34 percent unfavorable. 30 percent are unsure.

In the race for governor, Cooper has a 1 point lead with 11 percent undecided.

—  David Taffet

McCrory sues DoJ to keep N.C.’s bathroom bill


North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory

As the deadline approaches for North Carolina to disclose its plan for coming into compliance with the Civil Rights Act — in other words, how the state plans to get rid of its odious bathroom bill — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has doubled down on discrimination by filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice.

McCrory wants the courts to clarify the federal law in regards to the Civil Rights Act, claiming that “The Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law and set restroom policies for public and private employers across the country, not just North Carolina. This is now a national issue that applies to every state and it needs to be resolved at the federal level.”

Continuing to show either his ignorance of transgender issues or his utter disdain and contempt for transgender people, McCrory added, “They are now telling every government agency and every company that employs more than 15 people that men should be allowed to use a women’s locker room, restroom or shower facility.”

The U.S. Justice Department sent McCrory’s office a letter Wednesday, May 4, explaining that the state’s bathroom law — which not prohibits transgender people from using the appropriate public restroom facility but also rescinded a nondiscrimination ordinance passed by the Charlotte city government and prohibits any other local governmental entity from passing such ordinances — violates the Civil rights Act. DoJ also warned that unless the state remedies the problem, North Carolina will lose millions — billions, even — in federal funding for things like education.

In his lawsuit, McCrory pointed out that he directed state agencies to provide single-occupancy restrooms. In announcing the lawsuit, the governor, a Republican, said he filed the action “to ensure that North Carolina continues to receive federal funding until the courts resolve this issue.”

Chris Sgro, a Democrat from Greensboro, told Fox8 news that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals “has already said federally that this case is not going to hold up in court,” which means that McCrory’s lawsuit will accomplish nothing other than “costing us $4½ billion in federal education money.”

“He’s already cost us $500 million in economic loss in the month alone,” Sgro added. “So the only answer here is repeal and that needs to happen sooner rather than later.”

Angela Mazaris, Wake Forest University’s LGBTQ Center director, accused McCrory of “playing political games” that will cost the state’s residents in the private sector and federal funds.

“If Gov. McCrory is concerned with public safety, he ought to educate himself about the needs and experiences of transgender North Carolinians, whose health and safety is threatened” by the state’s discriminatory bathroom law, Mazaris said. “The Department of Justice has clearly stated that transgender people have the right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, and our governor needs to do his job and protect the rights of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

—  Tammye Nash

Making a difference

When Dallas resident David McCrory learned of the plight of a homeless gay teen in Colorado and tried to help, he discovered he could help make things better, but it wasn’t easy


David McCrory

Draconis von Trapp  |  Intern

One person can make a difference.
It’s been said a million times, and while some believe the old adage, some are still skeptical.
David McCrory used to be one of those skeptics.
But McCrory, a gay man who works for Dermalogica and a native New Orleanian who moved to Dallas from Los Angeles, discovered a whole new perspective after he helped a 19-year-old boy from committing suicide — from two states away.
McCrory moved to Dallas for his job and ended up participating with the Human Rights Campaign’s entry in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade this year for the first time. The parade featured British ex-rugby star Ben Cohen, who founded the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation that focuses on battling bullying and homophobia in schools.
After working with Cohen, McCrory started paying attention to the StandUp Foundation’s Facebook page, and that’s where he happened upon a post about how Jamey Rodomeyer, a young gay boy, had committed suicide.
As with most celebrity Facebook updates, there are usually several hundred comments. McCrory, usually not one to bother reading those comments, decided this time to take a look at the feedback.

“I was just browsing through the comments and I noticed this post from A.J.,” McCrory said. “And I guess it was the timing, having just read about Jamey, that I felt like I needed to reach out to him.”

A.J. had commented about how he felt that his only option was to end his life, saying that he was homeless just because of his sexual orientation. He said that he didn’t want to kill himself, but he didn’t know what else to do.

The comment was left in the morning on Sept. 21. It only took 30 minutes for someone to respond to A.J.’s post, recommending that he call the Trevor Project. But it took another eight hours for someone to proactively do something about it.

McCrory, after reading and responding to A.J.’s comment, emailed Cohen’s manager, Jill Tipping, confirming that both she and Cohen had read that post and responded to A.J. with suicide hotline numbers and contact information for different organizations that could help.

Feeling that more needed to be done, McCrory added A.J. as a friend on Facebook, started emailing him with reassuring messages and exchanging phone numbers with the young man.

After feeling out A.J.’s situation a little more, McCrory discovered that the teen had been living on a park bench for two days with no food after an altercation with his father.

“I left Colorado to go to Michigan to get in touch with my family there,” A.J. explained. “That kinda went south, so I came back to live with my father and things were fine.”

But the next day his father started questioning A.J.’s orientation. While A.J. had been out to his friends, he hadn’t yet come out to his family and wasn’t sure how they would take it. While he figured they would react negatively, he said, “I didn’t expect it to go as far as it did.”

After that, AJ’s father told him to leave.

McCrory said he did contact the Trevor Project, and while they were friendly and helpful, ultimately they could do nothing for A.J. immediately.

They provided some more contact information for organizations and crisis intervention programs in A.J.’s area — and that was the end of it.

McCrory said he tried all the contacts that were given to him but had little to show for it. Most numbers led to voice mailboxes and the one immediate crisis line he contacted could only help by advising he call the police.

At this time it was starting to rain where A.J. was, and McCrory was running out of options.

Finally, using his hotel points, McCrory booked a room for A.J. at a Marriott Hotel and, after discussing A.J.’s situation with the manager, was given the room for free as well as two meal vouchers so A.J. could eat that night and the next morning.

With cab services refusing credit card numbers over the phone and the police being short staffed, McCrory’s cousin used her credit card to have a driving service fetch A.J.

The next day McCrory tried to contact the LGBT community center in Colorado, but never got through to anyone. In a moment of clarity, it occurred to him that most towns had an LGBT-friendly church, and upon researching it, he found one close by A.J.’s location.

The Metropolitan Community Church’s pastor, Weff Mullins, provided McCrory with more up-to-date, reliable resources for A.J. and welcomed the teen into the service that Sunday.

One reputable organization Pastor Mullins recommended was Inside/Out Youth Services, which McCrory contacted, finally talking to someone who was able to get the ball rolling on providing A.J. with housing, therapy and a job to help him get back on his feet.

It was the help the young man needed.

A.J. has been living for free at a hotel since then and said that he has a brighter outlook on his future — one that doesn’t include suicide.

“I’m actually much better than I was before,” he said. “I’m mostly stable now and I’m pretty good.”

A.J. and McCrory have kept in contact and often talk on the phone.

“He’s a good kid,” McCrory said. “It’s pretty amazing that we’ve gotten so close and we’ve never met. I never thought that I would be helping someone out of a crisis situation like this.”

McCrory’s company has since made a $1,000 donation to Inside/Out Youth Services, which is being matched by the Gill Foundation, along with $100 from one of McCrory’s coworkers.

They worked together to get some Wal-Mart gift cards so A.J.could buy some clothes for himself.

“Plus, being gay, you know he will need some beauty products,” McCrory joked.

McCrory said that his involvement in helping A.J. has opened his eyes to how influential one person can be when they simply take the initiative to care.

Working with A.J. has furthered his inspiration to start a non-profit organization through Resource Center Dallas that features a 24/7 crisis center for teenagers who need help.

“It really blew my mind that there is a missing link in that chain, like you can get counseling over the phone, but you can’t get help after hours,” McCrory said incredulously.

“You can have a crisis as long as it’s within business hours.”

McCrory also said that had A.J. been underage, this whole thing could have ended up a lot worse. Due to the possible liabilities in dealing with a minor, most people don’t want to deal with them — and they can’t check into hotels alone. The only thing left to do would have been to call the cops and let Child Protective Services handle it, “which is kind of shocking,” McCrory said.

“I thought it was kind of an amazing story that select people think there’s nothing you can do,” McCrory said. “But it takes one small step of doing something that, as little as it may be, it could be the one thing that changes that one life, really.”

In the Dallas area, Promise House in Oak Cliff is a shelter for LGBT teens in crisis. They have a 24-hour crisis line that can be called at 1-866-941-8578. They are located on 224 W. Page Ave. and provide crisis intervention services along with case management, counseling, emergency and long-term shelter as well as advocacy and outreach.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas