After three weeks of vote recount efforts and increasingly desperate attempts to discredit the election results, Governor Pat McCrory has been defeated in in North Carolina by former Attorney General Roy Cooper, who now leads by 10,000 votes.
This is the single biggest win for the movement for transgender equality of this election. McCrory’s defeat hinged on his support for North Carolina’s disastrous HB 2—the law that made North Carolina the first state nationwide to effectively ban transgender people from using public restrooms.
When North Carolinians took to the polls and voted McCrory out of office they sent a signal to state lawmakers around the country that anti-transgender discrimination is a losing platform—and that fairness and equality will prevail.
HB 2 was quick to gain a notorious reputation as the most egregiously anti-transgender laws in the country. And it was widely and swiftly condemned by businesses, constituents and advocates alike—for good reason.
Since McCrory signed it into law in March of this year, HB 2 has put an incredible strain on North Carolina’s economy and national reputation. Cumulatively, the Tar Heel state has lost $600 million in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs—and that number could continue to grow. Major corporations including PayPal, Deutsche Bank and CoStar canceled planned expansions into North Carolina, and athletic organizations including the NBA, NCAA and ACC pulled high-profile sporting events from the state.
But despite the economic consequences of this state-sanctioned anti-LGBT discrimination, McCrory refused to withdraw his support. In fact, he did this opposite, making his support for HB 2 a cornerstone of his reelection bid. In contrast, Governor-elect Cooper vowed to make repealing HB 2 a top priority after he takes office on January 7, 2017.
The message from North Carolina voters is clear: Anti-transgender discrimination isn’t just bad for business—it’s bad for politics, too. And this historic vote also signals that, across the country, understanding and support for transgender Americans is growing.
We also saw the voters of our state come out in favor of these protections on Election Day this year. Every legislator—Republican and Democrat—who voted in favor of #TransLawMA earlier this year retained their seat, and this happened despite the fact that anti-transgender mailers were delivered in districts targeting vulnerable incumbents. Furthermore, McCrory’s loss on an otherwise GOP-friendly night, as well as the victories of GOP supporters of #TransLawMA, shows that on both sides of the aisle discrimination is a losing platform.
It’s now clearer than ever that we can’t afford to go backwards on this issue. The economic, political and social toll would be too large. If you agree, click here to sign our pledge and join our campaign to protect #TransLawMA.