McCrory: 'I'm not private sector's HR director'

Posted April 17

— Gov. Pat McCrory fiercely defended a new law that sets North Carolina's discrimination policy during a Sunday morning interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," saying government shouldn't interfere with how businesses treat their employees and customers.

"I don't think government should be the HR director for every business," McCrory told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, who questioned the governor about his decision to sign the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act last month and the resulting backlash.

The law, commonly referred to as House Bill 2, requires people to use the public bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificates, excludes gay and transgender people from protections against employment and public accommodations protections and bars cities and counties from extending such protections to them. The law also blocks cities from setting their own minimum wage and eliminates the right for workers to sue for job discrimination in state court.

Scores of corporations have balked at the law, several performers have canceled shows in the state because of it and the NBA is weighing whether to pull the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte over it. NBC estimates that the law has cost North Carolina $39.7 million directly and led to $186 million in lost revenue, Todd said.

McCrory blamed the Charlotte City Council for creating the firestorm, saying the council never should have passed an ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use the public bathroom in which they feel most comfortable. He said leaders of the General Assembly felt they had to call a special session to address the issue before the ordinance went into effect April 1.

"I will always call out government overreach," he said. "It's not the government's business to tell the private sector what their bathroom, locker room or shower practices should be."

Businesses can set their own LGBT policies under the law, he said.

Todd pressed him on parts of the law beyond the bathroom provision and asked how he would have liked state government telling him how to handle minimum wage and LGBT protections when he was mayor of Charlotte. He responded by saying his priorities as mayor were on police and fire protection and transportation.

"I'm not the private sector's HR director," he said. "I am the HR director and governor for all state employees."

That's why, he explained, he used an executive order last week to extend protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to state workers.

McCrory acknowledged that he didn't discuss the legislation with anyone in the LGBT community before the 12-hour period in which General Assembly passed it and he signed it into law. Since then, he said, he's has "very positive conversations" with some transgender people.

"We've got to have more dialogue and not threats," he said, adding that there is a "disconnect" between support for the law in many North Carolina towns and the outrage expressed by corporate executives.

Dealing with the "extremely new social norm" of being transgender creates a difficult balancing act of recognizing equality while respecting everyone's privacy, McCrory said.

"This is not just a North Carolina debate. This is a national debate that's come on in literally the last three months," he said. "There is passion on each side."


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  • Xander Bogaerts Apr 23, 11:29 a.m.
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    Amy, I disagree. The Transgender and transvestite community (along with the rest of LGBT community) still experience discrimination today. This is an attempt to grant them rights from discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

    If you want to claim this is grandstanding by someone seeking the governor's office, that is your accusation that I do not agree with. Along the same lines, it could be argued that HB2 is McCrory's grandstanding to unify his party base in an election year. I do not agree with that either- HB2 is McCrory bowing to the extreme right, in my opinion.

  • Xander Bogaerts Apr 23, 11:25 a.m.
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    HB2 discriminates against LGBT by denying them protection across the board. It's my understanding that McCrory's executive order is intended to apply to government, not private sector. That executive order is different from HB2.

  • Xander Bogaerts Apr 23, 11:24 a.m.
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    John, if you are seriously inquiring about what is happening at the federal level in regards to sexual orientation and transgender/transvestite protection, you can begin your search here, as one suggestion:

  • John Heida Apr 19, 11:03 p.m.
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    Terry, this bill applies to Govt places, not private. Government overreach usually is discussed when Government invades private business and private people. In this case, HB2 is NOT doing that.... PayPal, Google, Apple, Deutsche Bank, and all those 160 companies can do whatever they want in their bathrooms. They're just on the list to get publicity and be on the right side of the road to appear "PC" :)

  • Terry Lightfoot Apr 19, 3:12 p.m.
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    Government overreach was McCroy's defense....isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? So - his action was NOT State overreach?? Plezzzzze!

  • John Heida Apr 18, 11:54 p.m.
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    For all the "anti-McCrory" crowd, I'd like to ask Hillary, Bernie, or Obama how they would handle this ? In typical method of Socrates, there might be several answers and neither is right.

    So, maybe just wipe out both Charlotte and HB2 and start over.

    Still think dogs should be allowed in any restaurant, where are the protests for that ? :)

  • Steve Clark Apr 18, 11:05 p.m.
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    Paul, your last post is all that needs to be said in my book. I even like your press release :) ... Karen, I truly enjoy our 'debates' :=)

  • Karen Grigg Apr 18, 3:44 p.m.
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    "Hey the people of the city of Charlotte did not want this and voted it down in 2015." So, what confuses me is why the state had to call a $40,000 emergency session. Surely they had notice that this thing was out there. I don't understand why this was done with so little transparency. People were handed the bill and given a few minutes to read it before voting. I think three different legislators now have come out saying they regret voting for it- they simply didn't have time to make it all the way through the bill. I wish the legislators would just admit that they were trying to push the rest of the junk through and conveniently used the bathroom bill to wrap an emotional shell around the rest. The Charlotte ordinance is gone, and, possibly never to be seen again. So, at this point, yeah, just take them both off the table and start over.

  • Amy Whaley Apr 18, 3:31 p.m.
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    Hey the people of the city of Charlotte did not want this and voted it down in 2015. The city went against a 2003 law in passing their ordinance. And I agree, it wasn't really a problem before.... I think someone stirred the pot on purpose, like maybe someone who is running for governor and created an opportunity to grand stand.

  • Barry Smith Apr 18, 3:09 p.m.
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    Hey Pat, don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya on the way out!!! Can't wait to vote against you this time!!