Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence and Governor Pat McCrory have a lot in common. They both trust a man with the temperament of a two-year old with the nuclear codes, and they’ve both passed hateful anti-LGBT laws that have been disastrous for their states.
Before McCrory’s anti-LGBT HB2 law, there was Mike Pence’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Just like in North Carolina, Pence’s insistence on the “religious freedom” law stained Indiana and caused uproar in the business community. In fact, McCrory seems to have gotten his HB2 playbook from Pence, signing the legislation into law in the dead of night similarly to how the Indiana governor signed his at a secret meeting.
HB2 has cost North Carolina economic revenue and thousands of new job opportunities. Charlotte’s economic loss might be biggest of all — the 2017 NBA All-Star Game pulled out of the city after McCrory refused to repeal the heinous and overbearing bathroom law. As public outcry grows against HB2, McCrory continues to buckle down, but that won’t work for long.
McCrory’s record is so bad that the only way the NC GOP seems to think it can win is by cheating:
The N.C. Republican Party encouraged GOP appointees to county elections boards to “make party line changes to early voting” by limiting the number of hours and keeping polling sites closed on Sundays.
And funneling in as much money and manpower from the Koch network as possible:
On field efforts, the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, which has a large presence in North Carolina, has been knocking on doors and delivering mail thanking McCrory for tax reform and opposing Medicaid expansion. Art Pope, a major donor in the state who also worked in the governor’s administration, was a founding board member of the group.
No matter how hard the Kochs try to rescue McCrory, come November, he and Pence will have at least one more thing in common: they’ll both be out of a job.
Pence Signed The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act
Opponents Argued The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Signed By Governor Pence In April 2015, Would Permit Businesses To Deny Services To Gays And Lesbians For Religious Reasons
The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act Prohibited State Or Local Governments From Substantially Burdening A Person’s Ability To Exercising Their Religion, Sparking Fears That The Bill Allowed For Businesses To Deny Services To Gay And Lesbian Customers. According to the Indianapolis Star, “Senate Bill 101 prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it. It takes effect July 1. Although the bill does not mention sexual orientation, opponents fear it could allow business owners to deny services to gays and lesbians for religious reasons.” [Indianapolis Star, 4/2/16]
The Bill Came After The Federal Court Rulings Holding Marriage Equality Constitutionally Protected, Including In Indiana, And After A State Push To Ban Same-Sex Marriage. According to the Indianapolis Star, “But the timing of the measure has colored the debate in Indiana. Social conservatives have pushed hard for such measures across the country following recent federal court rulings that legalized same-sex marriage in Indiana and other states. Many in Indiana also see the legislation as a reaction to last year’s unsuccessful push to enshrine a same-sex marriage ban in the state’s constitution.” [Indianapolis Star, 4/2/16]
Pence Signed The Bill In Private, Surrounded By Supporters
Pence Signed RFRA Into Law In A Private Ceremony, Joined By “Some Of The State’s Most Powerful Lobbyists On Conservative Social Issues;” The Event Was Closed To The Press.According to the Indianapolis Star, “The nation’s latest legislative battle over religious freedom and gay rights came to a close Thursday when Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a controversial ‘religious freedom’ bill into law. […] Pence signed the bill during a private ceremony in his Statehouse office just before 10 a.m. Thursday. He was joined by supportive lawmakers, Franciscan monks and nuns, orthodox Jews, and some of the state’s most powerful lobbyists on conservative social issues. The event was closed to the public and the press.” [Indianapolis Star, 4/2/15]
Indianapolis Star: Among The Attendees Of The Private RFRA Signing Ceremony Were “Three Of The Lobbyists Who Pushed The Hardest For Last Year’s Gay Marriage Ban—Micah Clark Of The American Family Association Of Indiana, Curt Smith Of The Indiana Family Institute And Eric Miller Of Advance America.” According to the Indianapolis Star, “Three of the lobbyists who pushed hardest for last year’s gay marriage ban — Micah Clark of the American Family Association of Indiana, Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute and Eric Miller of Advance America — were among the 70 to 80 guests invited to the private bill signing. ‘It is vitally important to protect religious freedom in Indiana,’ Miller said in a statement after the bill signing. ‘It was therefore important to pass Senate Bill 101 in 2015 in order to help protect churches, Christian businesses and individuals from those who want to punish them because of their Biblical beliefs!’” [Indianapolis Star, 4/2/15]
Pence Claimed RFRA Did Not Allow For Discrimination
Pence: “This Is Not About Legalizing Discrimination.” According to the Indianapolis Star, “Pence said at a news conference after the bill signing that he would speak to executives and event organizers who are concerned about the measure. ‘I’ll call them. I’ll talk to them,’ he said. ‘This is not about legalizing discrimination.’” [Indianapolis Star, 4/2/15]
Pence Repeatedly Defended The Law. According to PBS.org, “In wake of the controversy, Pence has repeatedly defended the law, saying its intent was to give the courts the ‘highest level of scrutiny’ for Indiana residents who feel their religious liberties were infringed upon by the government.” [PBS.org, 3/31/15]
Pence Indicated He Would Request The General Assembly To Send Him Amendments To Clarify The Law’s Scope. According to PBS.org, “In order to address concerns, Pence said he would look to Indiana’s General Assembly to send him amendments that would clarify the law’s scope.” [PBS.org, 3/31/15]
Businesses Threatened To Leave The State
In Response To RFRA, The Indianapolis-Based NCAA Said It Would Examine How The Law “Might Affect Future Events As Well As Our Workforce.” According to the Indianapolis Star, “The NCAA, which is holding the Final Four men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis next week, also expressed concerns. NCAA President Mark Emmert said the Indianapolis-based group would examine ‘how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.’” [Indianapolis Star, 4/2/15]
After Pence Signed RFRA Into Law, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Said He Would No Longer Send Customers Or Employees To Indiana. According to the Indianapolis Star, “Shortly after Pence signed the bill, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced he would no longer send employees or customers to Indiana. ‘Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination,’ he tweeted.” [Indianapolis Star, 4/2/15]
In Response To RFRA, Indianapolis’ Largest Convention, Gen Con, Threatened To Leave The City When Its Contract Expired. According to the Indianapolis Star, “And earlier in the week, the city’s largest convention, Gen Con, threatened to take its 56,000 attendees to another state when its contract with the Indiana Convention Center expires in 2020. (However, in a letter to frequent convention-goers on Thursday the group said it had been reassured by many in the Indianapolis business community that all attendees would be welcomed warmly.)” [Indianapolis Star, 4/2/15]
The Disciples Of Christ Threatened To Pull Its Annual Convention From Indianapolis Due To RFRA. According to the Indianapolis Star, “The Disciples of Christ, a Christian denomination with about 6,000 annual convention attendees, also threatened to look elsewhere.” [Indianapolis Star, 4/2/15]
One Week After Signing RFRA, Pence Signed A RFRA “Fix” That Explicitly Said The Law Could Not Be Used To Allow Businesses To Refuse Services To Individuals Based On Sexual Orientation
Pence Signed Senate Bill 50, A Supposed “Fix” For The Religious Freedom Restoration Act That Made It Clear The RFRA Did Not Allow Businesses To Refuse Services, Facilities, Housing And Employment To Individuals Based On Sexual Orientation. According to MSNBC, “Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a proposed fix to the week-old Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) on Thursday amid uncertainty as to whether the move would ease intense criticism plaguing the Hoosier State.[…] The fix — known as Senate Bill 50 — will make clear that RFRA does not authorize a provider to refuse services, facilities, the use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service. It marks the first state-level extension of protections to LGBT people — a somewhat ironic development in the effect of a law viewed by many as discriminatory on its face.” [MSNBC, 4/2/15]
- Senate Bill 50 Stopped Short Of Establishing LGBT Individuals As A Protected Class Of Citizens And Critics Alleged That The RFRA Still Posed The Potential Of Being Used To Deny Access To Health Care And Other Aspects.According to MSNBC, “But the fix stops short of establishing LGBT people as a protected class of citizens statewide, causing several businesses and civil liberties advocates to double down on their calls for an expansion of the state’s civil rights act. ‘With these amendments, the RFRA cannot be used as a defense in some kinds of discrimination cases. That’s a major improvement,’ The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement. ‘But it still poses a risk that it can be used to deny rights to others, including in education, access to health care, and other aspects of people’s lives. While this is one piece of the solution, it is incomplete.’” [MSNBC, 4/2/15]
McCrory’s Anti-LGBT HB2 Law
McCrory Believed Charlotte Transgender Protections Broke “The Basic Standards, And Frankly Expectations, Of Privacy That All Individuals – Men And Women And Children Alike – Would Expect In A Restroom.” According to WBTV, “While he tracked the progress of Monday night’s spirited conversation at Charlotte’s city council meeting, the governor said going to the bathroom is an action that demands privacy. ‘I think [it] breaks the basic standards, and frankly expectations, of privacy that all individuals – men and women and children alike – would expect in a restroom facility or a locker room facility,’ he continued. ‘I think they are creating a lot of potential problems.’ In an email Sunday, ahead of the vote, McCrory said ‘this action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate state legislative intervention which I would support as governor.’”[WBTV, 2/24/16]
McCrory Called The Bathroom Provision “An Extreme Regulation That Changes The Basic Norms Of Society” That Could Not Be Allowed Because He Did Not Want “To Have 100 Different Rules” Across The State. According to the Associated Press, “Gov. Pat McCrory told The Associated Press that the bathroom provision denies privacy rights for people who expect to share restrooms or locker rooms only with people born with the same anatomy. ‘It’s an extreme regulation that changes the basic norms of society,’ the Republican governor said, adding that he would like the state legislature to pre-empt any local governments from enforcing such ordinances. ‘I don’t want to have 100 different rules’ across the state, he said.” [Associated Press, 2/24/16]
Businesses Urge McCrory To Overturn HB2
McCrory Called The NBA Moving Its All-Star Game From Charlotte Because Of HB2 “PC BS” Cited The NBA Playing Games In China And States With Similar Laws. According to a statement McCrory made after the NBA pulled its All-Star game from Charlotte, “We gotta call this as it is and it is PC BS. And it has nothing to do with discrimination because if it had to do with discrimination, the NBA would be cancelling their games in China right now and the NBA would not be playing in over 20 states that have the exact same laws that we have.” [Twitter – Pat McCrory, 7/22/16]
McCrory Signed Into Law A Bill That Banned Sex Offenders From Places Where Children Gather Intended To Reinstate A 2009 Law Struck Down By A Federal Court. According to the Associated Press, “North Carolina has banned some sex offenders from places children gather while a similar state law from 2009 remains under federal review. Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill Thursdaythat would prohibit sex offenders who have been identified as threats to minors from places like arcades, parks, libraries and the State Fairgrounds during the fair. It takes effect in September. The state’s 2009 law banning sex offenders from places where children congregate was ruled unconstitutionally broad by a federal court in April. The state has appealed the ruling and would maintain the 2009 law if the appeal is successful.” [Associated Press, 7/22/16]
100 Companies, Such As Apple, Starbucks, Levi Strauss And Twitter, Signed Onto The Letter Urging McCrory To Repeal HB2. According to the Gay Star News, “Only three in a large group were allowed to meet personally with McCrory to present him with deliver a letter signed by more than 100 business leaders from such companies as Apple, Starbucks, Levi Strauss and Twitter, urging him to repeal HB 2.” [Gay Star News, 4/1/16]
Trump Praised McCrory, Announced That H Was Doing “A Fantastic Job” During A Rally In North Carolina, Supported HB2
Trump Praised McCrory’s Work As Governor Said, “He’s Going A Fantastic Job.” According to WBTV, “Trump brought North Carolina legend Richard Petty on stage at the beginning of the rally. Trump also mentioned Gov. Pat McCrory. ‘He’s going a fantastic job,’ Trump said of McCrory.” [WBTV, 6/15/16]
After Initially Opposing The Law, Trump Switched His Position And Indicated His Support For HB2, Which McCrory Signed Into Law. According to the Huffington Post, “Donald Trump says he now supports North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, despite having criticized the legislation months ago. HB 2, which North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed into law earlier this year, bars transgender people from using public bathrooms designated for the gender with which they identify and bans municipalities from passing their own LGBT anti-discrimination policies. The law has been widely criticized, including by many CEOs of prominent corporations who have said it will hurt the state’s economy. Trump initially joined in the anti-HB 2 rhetoric, pointing out the law’s potential to hurt businesses in North Carolina and arguing that people should have the right to use whichever bathroom ‘they feel is appropriate.’ He walked back that position in May, arguing that states have the right to enact such legislation.” [Huffington Post, 7/6/16]