This week has been an absolute shit storm (that’s the technical term, I think) for Republicans and the LGBTQ community alike. And it’s not often that the two have similar side-effects to the same events. But when Republicans are called out for trying to legislate away the rights of LGBTQ people (accent on the T this week), we see that result: the LGBTQ community is pissed that Republicans are bigots and Republicans are pissed that they’re caught being bigots.
Notice how I called LGBTQ people: people. Well, it seems that Republican lawmakers in North Carolina (amongst a plethora of other GOP-ran states, but North Carolina is the one I’m going to focus on now) have forgotten that those who aren’t heterosexual are still people. So, when the city council of North Carolina’s biggest city, Charlotte, voted to allow transgender people to use the proper bathrooms, the Republicans in the Capitol lost their minds. A one-day special session of the Legislature was called, costing North Carolina taxpayers $42,000, for the sole purpose of making sure that transgender North Carolinians had to use the bathrooms which a cis-heteronormative society had always told them that they had to use.
That’s the background. Now that we’re all thoroughly upset with North Carolina Republican lawmakers (although if you’re reading this, I have an idea that doesn’t take much), I’m going to give you a reason why you might be able to breathe a little in relief.
The North Carolina Attorney General is refusing to defend the anti-transgender measure, calling it a “national embarrassment.”
Roy Cooper, the Democratic Attorney General, is very popular in North Carolina. He ran unopposed for reelection as Attorney General in 2012 and garnered the highest voting percentage of any statewide race in 2008. He has frequently been courted by both the North Carolina and national Democratic Party to seek higher offices, and now we can all see why.
AG Cooper noted to reporters that he has defended laws in the past with which he did not necessarily agree, but he did it because it was his duty as Attorney General. With this case though, he is putting his foot down, saying:
“This is a unique and different situation, and as Attorney General there are often times situations where you have to make choices with different agencies that are conflicted. Here, this is the right choice.”
The incumbent Republican Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, is doing his best to politicize Cooper’s decision and make it about his own campaign effort. Oh, didn’t I mention that Cooper is running against McCrory in the 2016 gubernatorial election? Yikes.
North Carolina is certainly a purple state and, as such, it would be extremely difficult to say where the gubernatorial election there is headed. But Roy Cooper has proven to be a formidable opponent to Governor McCrory’s disastrous administration and policies. It’s nice to see a powerful politician doing what’s right and standing up for an oppressed transgender community in a region infamous for its oppression. This is certainly an election and a case to watch.