Incumbent North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory conceded to Democrat Roy Cooper, the state’s Attorney General, on Monday — a defeat that is being cheered on by Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBT organization.
“I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken, and we now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper,” McCrory said in a video released around noon. “The McCrory administration team will assist in every way to help the new administration make a smooth transition.”
Cooper had a lead of 10,263 votes over McCrory in nearly final election tallies on the State Board of Elections website Monday afternoon, some 27 days after North Carolina voters went to the polls.
Among the factors that led McCrory being the first governor in North Carolina since 1970 not to win re-election was his strong advocacy for House Bill 2, the controversial law what required transgender people in government facilities to use the bathroom that corresponds to their birth certificates. The controversial legislation led the NBA to pull the All-Star game from the state in 2017, and made McCrory an enemy to the LGBT community.
“North Carolina rejected a governor who embraced discrimination and put the state’s economy in jeopardy. The majority in North Carolina, here in Florida, and across the country oppose discrimination against the LGBTQ community,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida. “Not only should Florida avoid making the same discriminatory and costly mistake that North Carolina made, this is a moment for lawmakers to enact strong statewide nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community.”
Actually a proposal that would bar transgender people from using bathrooms that did not match their gender at birth was introduced in the Florida Legislature a year before HB 2 was passed in North Carolina. Miami Representative Frank Artilles filed the bill in the spring of 2015, but it never made it to the House floor.
Smith noted in her statement that 56% of Floridians live in places with LGBTQ-inclusive local non-discrimination protections but no statewide law exists. Earlier this year,Monroe County Republican Holly Raschein filed legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identify or expression. Although she had nine fellow Republicans in the House that supported the bill, it failed to get past Economic Affairs Committee.