Regarding Kathleen Parker’s April 12 op-ed column, “Bigotry raises its hideous head in North Carolina”:
Let me set the record straight: North Carolina proudly welcomes all people to live, work and visit our great state. We have long-held traditions of ensuring equality for all of our citizens and our visitors while respecting the privacy of everyone. We are also a state that strives to allow our people and businesses to be as independent as possible without overreaching government regulations.
These North Carolina values of privacy and equality came into conflict when the Charlotte City Council mandated that all local businesses and organizations allow men to use a woman’s restroom, locker room or shower facility.
Now the politically correct elite, such as Ms. Parker, may like this kind of policy. But as governor, I agree with the vast majority of people in North Carolina, the ninth-most-populous state, who don’t want this type of government overreach - especially in a place where most men, women and children have an expectation of privacy and safety. It is not the government’s job to mandate bathroom policies for private-sector businesses, and the government should not be in the business of forcing people to share the restroom with people of the opposite sex under the threat of potential fines - which is exactly what Charlotte’s ridiculous ordinance would have permitted.
Just five months prior to Charlotte imposing this overreaching law, voters in Houston overwhelmingly rejected a nearly identical regulation through a public referendum. Yet the men’s NCAA Final Four basketball games were played there under no threats of boycott, retaliation or demagoguery from the media, entertainment, business elite or special-interest groups.
Since the North Carolina legislature overturned this far-reaching Charlotte mandate, the Human Rights Campaign has led a coordinated assault and smear campaign. This national special-interest group, which is funded by anonymous donors, is attempting to bully companies, entertainers and anyone else who disagrees with its agenda. Our state is unfairly being used as its political pawn. Simply put, it is seeking to take jobs from hard-working men and women in the interest of self-serving, political theater and selective outrage.
However, the HRC remains silent while the same individuals and organizations sell their products, make their products or take entertainment dollars from countries like China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore - countries with deplorable human rights records, especially toward the gay and lesbian community. Earlier this week, this group’s hypocrisy reached new levels when it praised the Democratic governor of Louisiana for signing a “historic” executive order after criticizing my nearly identical executive order that expanded protections for state employees.
The facts are clear. North Carolina is now one of 25 states in the country to officially bar discrimination for state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. We also allow private organizations to set their own restroom policies while maintaining common-sense, gender-specific restrooms, locker rooms and showers in our public schools, government buildings and highway rest stops.
These complex issues deserve real dialogue about common-sense solutions instead of threats and selective outrage from special interests, business elite as well as the media. In the meantime, I will continue to defend North Carolina from those who falsely malign our great state.
Pat McCrory, Raleigh
The writer, a Republican, is the governor of North Carolina.