A recount might change things, but today, it appears Democrat Rory Cooper has unseated Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
This is remarkable because Donald Trump carried North Carolina (narrowly) and voters there also narrowly returned a Republican U.S. senator to office.
The difference: McCrory has continued to champion North Carolina legislation that discriminates against LGBT people, including a state law that prohibits local non-discrimination measures. Arkansas has a similar law that Gov. Asa Hutchinson declined to veto.
National organizations have canceled events in North Carolina as a result and some high-profile, high-tech business investments have been lost because people don’t want to do business with a state that discriminates. The state is evenly spot on whether this was a ground to oust McCrory, but exit polls showed an even stronger aversion to the North Carolina discrimination law.
This should be a lesson for Arkansas. Will it? I understand the majority of Arkansans still favor discrimination against LGBT people. We have two distinct state laws aimed at protecting those who wish to discriminate.
But: Gay people and people who love and accept gay people can read. It is too much to expect the ever-redder Arkansas legislature to roll back existing discriminatory legislation, even though some national companies might discover them and choose not to invest here?But the North Carolina experience might be worth considering as the legislature considers the expected bathroom bills and further anti-LGBT measures. Advertising our discrimination further might not be wise, if economic development really is our aim.
North Carolina proves that you can’t give away enough money to get people of conscience to want to do business with a state that believes, practices and legalizes discrimination. Issue 3 or no Issue 3. Maybe some of those corporate lobbyists now re-entitled to taxpayer subsidies thanks to Issue 3, can spend a little time on THAT message.