North Carolina’s new Governor sworn in after defeating anti-LGBT Republican
North Carolina’s new Governor Roy Cooper has been sworn into office, after unseating incumbent Pat McCrory.
North Carolina has lost a string of big investment ventures over Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign the contentious HB2 – which voided all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, banned transgender people from using their preferred bathroom, and permits businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.
Although GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump comfortably took the state during November’s election elections, an apparent split-ticket vote saw McCrory defeated in his re-election battle by Democratic challenger Roy Cooper – with polling suggesting that HB2 was the decisive issue.
Governor Cooper was sworn in this week, after officially taking power at midnight on January 1.
The new Governor, who has vowed to repeal HB2 as soon as possible, said: “It is the honor of my life to be your governor, and to work for all of North Carolina.
“I pledge to give my very best to the people of this great state of North Carolina, the state I love and where I have spent my life.”
However, he faces an uphill battle on the issue, as Republicans maintain control of both houses of the state legislature.
Prior to Cooper taking office, the GOP also passed a string of laws pre-emptively limiting his executive power, which means the likelihood of repealing the law without cross-party support remains low.
A compromise deal to repeal HB2 fell apart last month. Republicans initially agreed to repeal HB2 in return for the repeal of LGBT rights protections in the Democrat-controlled City of Charlotte.
Though the Democrats held up their end of the deal, it fell apart when the Republicans violated their end of the agreement by attempting to introduce a clause in their own repeal bill re-banning LGBT rights ordinances.
Attempts to resolve the issue fell apart in a special legislature session.
Governor Cooper has vowed to push forward.
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He said “The legislature had a chance to do the right thing for North Carolina, and they failed.
“I am disappointed that Republican legislative leaders refused to live up to their promise to fully repeal House Bill 2. I’m disappointed for the people of North Carolina – the jobs that they may not get. I’m disappointed that we haven’t yet removed the stain from our reputation around the country and around the world.
“People want us to work together for the good of our state. I know there were enough Democratic and Republican votes to fully repeal HB 2 by itself. But Republican legislative leaders have broken their word to me and broken their trust with the people.
“My staff and I worked day and night through the past week to forge an agreement that would bring back jobs and sporting events. For the first time ever on this issue, we had House Republican leaders, Senate Republican leaders, Senate Democrats, House Democrats, the Charlotte City Council, business leaders, sports leaders and the LGBT leaders in agreement.
“The Charlotte City Council held up its end of the deal by repealing its ordinance. When it came time for Republican legislative leaders to do their job, they failed.
“This was our best chance. This cannot be our last chance.”