Shocked and awed by the persecution their brethren in Indiana and now Arkansas are suffering, North Carolina's GOP
bigots politicians are suddenly running screaming for the exits pretending they've never, ever supported NC's own 'me-too' homophobia protection acts - SB2 (which would excuse magistrates from performing marriages they sincerely believe are icky) and SB550/HB348, our very own wannabe Religious Freedom Restoration Act (for corporations).
NC Governor and noted Duke Energy pimp, Pat McCrory [R]:
The governor said another Republican bill designed to protect religious freedom “makes no sense.” “What is the problem they’re trying to solve?” McCrory said during a radio interview. “I haven’t seen it at this point in time.” [....] McCrory compared the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” to the effort to allow transgender persons to use the bathroom of their choice. Both are not needed, he said.
McCrory also said he opposes a Senate-passed bill to give magistrates the right not to perform same-sex marriages if they say that violates their religious beliefs. “I don’t think you should have an exemption when you took an oath to uphold … the constitution of North Carolina,” he said.
McCrory's statement was heavily triangulated; he didn't actually say that he would veto either of these bills if they come to his desk, but rather that he wouldn't sign them. But without his veto the bills would become law anyway, and even with a veto the GOP supermajority in the General Assembly could still override. Which is to say that McCrory is going for plausible deniability here, rather than squaring off to actually fight for something.
To my ears, McCrory's statements sound a lot like "I mean, hey, whaddafuckyagonnado? Amiright?" McCrory faces a tough reelection bid in 2016, and hereby signals that he hopes to avoid offending any voters by pleasing none of them. Good luck with that, Pat.
Meanwhile, in the General Assembly, House Speaker Tim Moore [R]:
As opposition to a new Religious Freedom Restoration Act appeared to grow, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore Tuesday signaled that lawmakers will take a hard look at its potential fallout. Moore called an unusual, impromptu news conference in his office to say the House will be deliberate as it considers the bill.
He said while the bill is important to a number of House Republicans, the session’s primary goals are job creation and improving roads and education. He said he wants to find out how the religious freedom legislation accomplishes those objectives and what it does to improve North Carolina’s “brand.”
Moore said though some members wanted a committee meeting on the bill this week, “That’s not going to happen.”
“This is worthy of discussion,” he said. “It’s going to take some time.”
McCrory and Moore are, first, last, and always, 'fiscal conservatives' focused on what really matters - poisoning the environment to make a quick buck and robbing the poor to give to the rich - and doubtless view these untidy social issues promoted by backwoods goobers in the General Assembly as profitless (in every sense of that word). However, prior to the firestorm in Indiana there was also no apparent profit to them in risking the wrath of social conservative voters by actually speaking out against these bills. But Indiana and Arkansas have now opened a door to them, in which they can stand to protect "North Carolina's brand."
No doubt they consider the new configuration on the chess board as a win-win for them...allowing them to look forthright while attempting to alienate no one.
It won't work. We'll make sure it won't work.
Meanwhile, however, it looks increasingly like neither bill will make it into law this year, and we'll take that win. To everyone who raised a stink about Indiana and Arkansas: thank you from your friends in North Carolina!
UPDATE (April 2): Yesterday the Raleigh News & Observer reported:
On Monday, American Airlines, which has its second-largest hub in Charlotte and employs thousands in the city, signaled it would fight the North Carolina legislation – just as it opposed a similar bill in Arizona that was vetoed last year. American Airlines spokeswoman Michelle Mohr said in a statement. “…Laws like this will harm the economies of the states in which they are enacted, and would ultimately be a step in the wrong direction for a society that seeks tolerance, peace and prosperity for all.”
The Charlotte Chamber [of Commerce] has not taken a position on the issue. But Bob Morgan, chamber CEO and president, said in a statement that: “We are caught off guard that anybody would consider this a priority at a time that North Carolina is struggling to reach consensus about our economic development future.”
That's right..."caught off guard."
But what caught NC business interests off guard was not Senate Bill 2 itself (which was introduced by NC Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger over two months ago, and elicited absolutely no comment from the business community at the time), but rather the stunning passion with which opponents of homophobia protection acts nationwide have lately vowed to boycott businesses in states adopting new Christian Sharia laws. Because hey, that
dog won't hunt.