NC Attorney General Refuses To Defend Controversial New Bathroom Law

Mar 29, 2016

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will not defend the state’s controversial new law that requires transgender people to use bathrooms that match their sex at birth. He said today the mandate is unconstitutional and conflicts with some state agency policies.

Cooper, a defendant in a suit filed by LGBT groups in federal court yesterday, urged state lawmakers to repeal the law, and said it would be unnecessarily costly for the state to defend it. He suggested the governor, also a defendant in the suit, and state lawmakers would be forced to contract independent counsel, as they’ve done in recent years to defend controversial legislation.

“We shouldn’t have to be dealing with these lawsuits in the first place. This shameful new law has brought them upon us,” Cooper said in a press conference. “Swift action is required to keep our state and our citizens from losing money.”

The law also blocks local governments from approving ordinances that make LGBT people a protected class, and drew immediate criticism from civil rights groups and employers. It is likely to be a key issue in November’s election for governor. Cooper is the Democratic nominee for the office, while incumbent Republican Pat McCrory is running for re-election.

McCrory's office released a statement that was presented as a fact sheet about the law. WRAL fact-checked that statement this week. "The State of Things" host Frank Stasio spoke with WUNC capitol reporter Jorge Valencia about that analysis and the latest developments in the opposition and support of the law.