Hi, Iím North Carolina Governor
In the 50 plus years since Iíve
lived in North Carolina Iíve learned that the people of North
Carolina love each other and they respect their differences; even when those differences conflict with their beliefs and
Time and time again Iíve witnessed
the people of North Carolina put aside their disagreements and
come together to accommodate and work out solutions, while still
respecting each otherís beliefs and values.
Iíve also witnessed politicians
who, sadly, have exploited differences and divided our people. Instead
of living up to the North Carolina tradition of respecting those
with whom they disagree, they demonized our state for
political gain. And that is not acceptable.
Some have called our state an
embarrassment. The real embarrassment is politicians not
publicly respecting each otherís positions on complex issues. Unfortunately, that has occurred
legislation was passed recently to protect men, women, and children
when they use a public restroom, shower, or locker-room. That is
an expectation of privacy that must be honored and respected.
Instead, North Carolina has been
the target of a vicious, nation-wide smear campaign.
Disregarding the facts, other politicians, from the White House
to mayors to state capitols and city council members, and
even our Attorney General,
have initiated and promoted conflict to advance their political
agenda and tear down our state, even if it means defying the constitution and their
oath of office.
You know, obeying the laws of the land,
and living up to the duties of the office, and defending the
constitution is the foundation of North Carolina's government. I am
standing right up now -- up to the President of the United States to prevent
federal overreach to take over our North Carolina waters, which
I think is in
violation of the U.S. Constitution.
I've even stood up to the legislative
leaders of my own Republican party when they took powers not delegated to
them in the North Carolina constitution, and our State Supreme Court
And now, Iím standing up to the
Attorney General of North Carolina who today refused to fulfill
his oath of office to defend the people of North Carolina in a
lawsuit filed over the privacy of our restrooms.
As the State Attorney General, he canít select which laws he will defend and which
laws are politically expedient to refuse to defend. His excuse that his own internal
policies would be affected is wrong. All employment policies for
cities and corporations and the Attorney Generalís own policies
remain exactly the same. The Attorney General is inventing conflict that
simply doesnít exist.
When you are the stateís lawyer,
you are a lawyer first and a politician second. Therefore, I'd
encourage the Attorney General to reconsider his flawed logic. I
am fulfilling my oath of office as Governor of North Carolina
and we expect him to do the same as the Attorney General of
North Carolina. As elected officials we donít get
to choose the perfect circumstances that surround the decisions
we have to make under very difficult circumstances.
You know, I did not call for a special
session. I expressed concerns over some of the provisions that
were in the legislation. But at the end of the day, the General
Assembly acted within the provisions of the constitution and
presented me with
a bill [pdf] that, while it may not be perfect,
provided protection for our basic expectation of privacy in
public restrooms and locker rooms.
I signed that bill because if I
didnít, on April the 1st of this year , the expectation of privacy of North
Carolina citizens could be violated.
This is not about demonizing one
group of people. In fact, letís put our differences aside. Let's
stop the political
rhetoric -- and yes, a lot of hypocrisy -- and work on solutions that will
make this bill better in the future. I am open to new ideas and
And to the people and businesses
of North Carolina: We are a state of inclusiveness, openness, and
diversity. And I'm very, very proud of that.
I believe in North Carolina, its
people, and also our democratic process. And I will not shy away from
taking the responsibility to do what it takes to make our state
These are the values I learned
more than 50 years ago when I first came to North Carolina; and I
will continue to uphold those values as your governor of our
May God continue to bless you and the people
of North Carolina.
Thank you very much.