Roy Cooper would veto anti-gay bills if he were governor

In an interview with The Associated Press, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said he would veto two proposed anti-LGBT bills if he were governor.

One of the proposed bills would allow magistrates to opt out of civil marriage duties; the other is a so-called “religious freedom” law some believe is worse than the widely criticized law recently passed in Indiana. Both bills were highly favored by GOP legislative leaders, though some members of the General Assembly, including House Speaker Tim Moore, have questioned the religious discrimination measure.

Gov. Pat McCrory has said he wouldn’t sign the magistrate bill, but hasn’t come out specifically to say he’d veto it or the religious freedom proposal.

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If Cooper were governor, he’d veto them, he told the AP.

“There are laws in place that protect religious liberties,” Cooper said. “We don’t need these laws that hurt people and our economy.”

As attorney general, Cooper defended North Carolina’s anti-LGBT marriage amendment. He ceased defending it when it became clear a Fourth Circuit ruling would overturn it. He’s been outspoken on his support for marriage equality.

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Cooper, elected as attorney general in 2001, hasn’t officially announced his campaign for governor, but it’s widely expected he will challenge McCrory in 2016.

The AP interview also discussed police body cameras, the economy and other issues. In response, to the interview, the state Republican Party released a statement, according to The News & Observer.

“Our part time Attorney General is clearly running for governor, yet he will only take positions on issues when it is politically advantageous for him,” spokesperson Ricky Diaz said. “He still continues to dodge the serious questions we’ve raised, like what his position is on the sales tax bill currently being debated in the legislature.”

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.