News (USA)

McCrory lawsuit against feds may shift narrative on LGBT law

“It was not so very long ago that states, including North Carolina had other signs above restrooms, water fountains and on public accommodations keeping people out based on a distinction without a difference,” said Lynch, a North Carolina native.

McCrory disagrees that he’s refusing to carry out established civil rights law and said the courts should be the arbiter. He said Congress also should consider stepping in and make clear what sex discrimination means in the Civil Rights Act.

“The Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law and set basic restroom policies, locker room policies, and even shower policies for public and private employers across the country, not just North Carolina,” McCrory told reporters at the Executive Mansion just after he sued the Justice Department.

With McCrory preparing for a re-election campaign against Democrat Roy Cooper, his lawsuit wins him support from conservative Republicans who support the law but may be thinking twice about voting this fall with Donald Trump likely at the top of the ballot. Protracted litigation also could quiet public debate until after November. The cacophony has defined McCrory the past two months, hindering him in talking about a recovering economy he’s wanted to make the centerpiece of his campaign.

“His message was so muddled,” said Mac McCorkle, a consultant for North Carolina’s past two Democratic governors, Mike Easley and Beverly Perdue. “Now he’s able to say, ‘hey, I’m just fighting the good fight, the good conservative fight.'”

His focus upon federal overreach stabilizes him politically for now but is unlikely to undo all the damage, McCorkle said. McCrory’s intervention in social issues also could risk him losing independent voters who helped elect him in 2012, when he was viewed as a moderate, pro-business Republican.

“He’s in a tricky political situation running against the federal government,” said Thomas Keck, a political science professor at Syracuse University, who studies politics and the courts and has written about LGBT rights. “When you’re talking about public restrooms, that directly raises that historical analogy” to racial segregation, Keck added.

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