North Carolina Republicans claim LGBT rights supporters have ‘blood on their hands’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The North Carolina Republican Party has claimed state Democrats have “blood on their hands” for standing up for LGBT rights, after a compromise deal to axe an anti-LGBT law fell through.

North Carolina has lost a string of big investment ventures after Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign the contentious HB2, which voided all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, banned transgender people from using their preferred bathroom, and permits businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.

After McCrory was defeated in his re-election battle by Democratic challenger Roy Cooper, the two parties this week attempted to broker a compromise deal on the issue – with Republicans initially agreeing to repeal HB2 in return for the repeal of LGBT rights protections in the Democrat-controlled City of Charlotte.

Though the Democrats held up their end of the deal, it fell apart when the Republicans violated their end of the agreement, attempting to introduce a clause in their own HB2 repeal bill banning LGBT rights ordinances.

As attempts to resolve the issue fell apart in a special legislature session last night, the North Carolina Republicans accused pro-LGBT Democrats of having “blood on their hands”.

An official statement claims: “Governor McCrory called a special session for repeal, based on good faith when Roy Cooper and Charlotte Democrats announced to the world a full repeal of the Charlotte ordinance. However they lied.

“The HB2 blood is now stain soaked on their hands and theirs alone. What a dishonest, disgraceful shame by Roy Cooper and Charlotte Democrats.”

Governor-elect Cooper slammed the Republicans for failing to honour the compromise deal.

He said “The legislature had a chance to do the right thing for North Carolina today, and they failed.

“I am disappointed that Republican legislative leaders refused to live up to their promise to fully repeal House Bill 2. I’m disappointed for the people of North Carolina – the jobs that they may not get. I’m disappointed that we haven’t yet removed the stain from our reputation around the country and around the world.

“People want us to work together for the good of our state. I know there were enough Democratic and Republican votes to fully repeal HB 2 by itself. But Republican legislative leaders have broken their word to me and broken their trust with the people.

“My staff and I worked day and night through the past week to forge an agreement that would bring back jobs and sporting events. For the first time ever on this issue, we had House Republican leaders, Senate Republican leaders, Senate Democrats, House Democrats, the Charlotte City Council, business leaders, sports leaders and the LGBT leaders in agreement.

“The Charlotte City Council held up its end of the deal by repealing its ordinance. When it came time for Republican legislative leaders to do their job, they failed.

“This was our best chance. This cannot be our last chance.”

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: “Today, the public trust has been betrayed once again. Lawmakers sent a clear message: North Carolina remains closed for business.

“It’s been 273 days since Republican state lawmakers passed the hateful HB2 law, and they have resisted fixing the mess they created every step of the way.

“Even after Charlotte responded to the GOP leadership’s loathsome demand to repeal common sense protections that exist in more than 100 cities, Senator Berger and Speaker Moore failed to make good on the ‘deal’ they brokered with Governor-elect Cooper to fully repeal HB2.

“Their shameful actions and broken promises subject LGBTQ North Carolinians to state-mandated discrimination, contribute to a heightened environment of harassment and violence, and will continue the significant harm done to the state’s reputation and economy.

“It’s clear today that the GOP leadership’s cruelty towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and particularly transgender North Carolinians knows no bounds. For our part, we will continue to fight to defeat all of HB2 and protect North Carolinians no matter what it takes.”

Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro said: “For 273 long days, HB2 has put LGBTQ North Carolinians at risk for discrimination and violence. Every single day, we have lost businesses, new residents, tourists, concerts, and sporting events.

“Today’s failure to repeal HB2 is a blow to not just the LGBTQ community but to the entire state of North Carolina. With HB2 still on the books and the Charlotte Ordinance fully repealed we will only continue to lose businesses and put LGBTQ North Carolinians in harms way.

“The North Carolina General Assembly Leadership has made clear today that North Carolina remains closed for business.”

National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said: “The North Carolina General Assembly is a national disgrace.

“In March, North Carolina lawmakers passed HB2. Last week, they made a shocking move to wrest power from Governor-elect Roy Cooper before he even took office.

“Today, they claimed they would repeal HB2. As we have come to expect from these dishonest and underhanded extremist lawmakers, however, were not planning on repealing it in full.

“The repeal bill included a portion that bans cities in North Carolina from passing their own nondiscrimination laws for, at least, six months.This is unacceptable.

“The legislature’s actions today have proven that the people of North Carolina—particularly transgender North Carolinians—cannot have any faith in their shameless lawmakers. We continue to stand with the people of North Carolina, particularly the transgender people who have been harmed by HB2 and their own lawmakers’ actions, and we will continue to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with them until this shameful legislation is repealed in its entirety.”