The Latest: Senate leader says to AG: Defend law or resign


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a new law in North Carolina that critics have called discriminatory (all times local):

11:45 a.m.

A top legislative Republican says North Carolina’s Democratic attorney general should resign if he won’t defend a far-reaching new state law that in part voids Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

Senate Leader Phil Berger said Tuesday that Attorney General Roy Cooper appears to be pandering to left-wing backers as he runs for governor against incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. Berger says Cooper’s campaigning is making it impossible for him to fulfill his duties as attorney general.

Berger issued a statement after Cooper said he won’t defend in court the new state law that prevents local governments from adopting anti-discrimination measures for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Cooper says in response to Berger’s comments that he’s doing his job and will keep doing it.

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11:15 a.m.

North Carolina’s Democratic attorney general is commending Georgia’s Republican governor for vetoing a piece of legislation that critics have called discriminatory.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said at a news conference Tuesday that Gov. Nathan Deal “stepped up” on Monday when he rejected a “religious freedom” bill. Cooper said Deal recognized the negative economic impact it would have Georgia if he signed the legislation.

Many corporations have spoken out against the bill in Georgia and the new law in North Carolina. The North Carolina bill prevents Charlotte and other local governments from approving protections for LGBT people.

The Georgia bill was modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. People claiming their religious freedoms are burdened could force state and local governments to prove a “compelling” interest in enforcing laws that conflict with their beliefs.

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11:05 a.m.

North Carolina’s attorney general says he won’t defend in court a new state law preventing Charlotte and other local governments from approving protections for LGBT citizens at restaurants, hotels and stores.

Democrat Roy Cooper made the announcement Tuesday, a day after gay rights advocates sued the state to seek to overturn the law. The federal lawsuit lists Cooper among the defendants because of his official position, but he opposes the law and wants it repealed.

The Republican-led legislature and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory approved the law last week. They say Charlotte went too far with a local ordinance allowing transgender people to use the restroom of their preference. The law also addresses bathroom use in schools and state agencies.

Cooper is challenging McCrory for governor this fall.