North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced on March 29 that he will not defend House Bill 2, a law that Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed last week. The law bans local towns and counties from enacting their own LGBT rights laws (video below).
McCrory signed both House Bill 2 and the state Senate version because the City of Charlotte passed a nondiscrimination LGBT ordinance that allowed transgender people to use the bathrooms of the sex that they self-identify their gender with; the new state law nullifies it.
Cooper, who is challenging McCrory for governor, said during a press conference that his office has defended the state and its officials in the past when they had been sued, but added that his office "will not defend the constitutionality of the discrimination in House Bill 2," reports My Fox 8.
Cooper said that his office has a discrimination policy that protects marital status and sexual orientation, which are "two classes not protected by the state."
Cooper said House Bill 2 conflicted with his and the State Treasurer's office's policy -- the State Treasurer's Office has asked Cooper's office to defend them.
The ACLU of North Carolina, Equality NC, and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on March 28 fighting against House Bill 2. The groups said in a statement on March 29:
As our lawsuit highlighted yesterday, House Bill 2 singles out the LGBT community for discrimination. That's not only incompatible with the state's constitutional and legal obligations but also our shared values as North Carolinians.
We’re grateful the Attorney General stands on the on the right side of history with the many cities, states, businesses and individuals who have come out against this harmful measure.
McCrory responded in a video released March 29, notes ABC 11:
Now I'm standing up to the Attorney General of North Carolina who today, refused to fulfill his oath of office to defend the people of North Carolina in a lawsuit filed over the privacy of our restrooms.
As the state attorney general, he can't select which laws he will defend and which laws are politically expedient to refuse to defend ... When you are the state's lawyer, you are a lawyer first and a politician second. Therefore, I encourage the Attorney General to reconsider his flawed logic.