Soon after the Charlotte City Council passed a non-discrimination ordinance in February, Gov. Pat McCrory’s staff began receiving complaints that he had not called for a special session to overturn the measure, emails released by his office show.
Among its provisions, the Charlotte measure allowed transgender individuals to use bathrooms in government-run facilities that matched their gender identity, setting off a national firestorm.
If the governor didn’t react, it could cost him votes in November, the emails suggested.
Republicans “better get off their butts and do something” if they didn’t want to be swept out of office, one emailer wrote.
The thousands of pages of messages were provided to the Observer Monday a little more than a week after the paper filed a lawsuit against McCrory for failing to meet a request made under North Carolina’s public records law six months earlier. The emails show the strong emotions for and against the Charlotte measure that McCrory later overturned when he signed House Bill 2 on March 23.
Some emailers to the governor’s office, for example, called McCrory an “idiot” for signing the law, while others used the same word to describe backers of the Charlotte measure.
Since HB2’s passage, corporations, sports organizations, entertainers and others have pulled events from the state in protest of a law that they see as discriminatory. McCrory has defended the legislation, which has emerged as a major issue in the gubernatorial campaign.
“Is it true the Governor does not want a special session?” Frank Turek, a Christian author and speaker wrote in a March 1 email to Fred Steen, who was then McCrory’s chief lobbyist at the N.C. General Assembly. He copied other activists and House Speaker Tim Moore on the message.
“This kind of inaction is exactly what is feeding the anti-establishment rage. If the Republicans don’t want to be engulfed by the (Donald) Trump wave, they better get off their butts and do something before this dangerous ordinance goes into effect in April.
“Taking action now is not only the right thing to do, it will be politically popular,” he wrote.