The Latest: Christian legal aid firm offers to defend NC law


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the response to a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination regulations by local governments (all times local):

4 p.m.

A Christian legal aid group is offering to defend a new North Carolina law against a lawsuit challenging its near ban of anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people.

The group Liberty Counsel offered the General Assembly’s Republican leaders its free labor to defend the case against a federal lawsuit by transgender men and civil rights groups. The group last year represented Kentucky clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The North Carolina law prevents local governments from protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity when they use public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants. People also would have to use multi-stall bathrooms that match their birth certificates at state agencies and public schools and universities.

3:15 p.m.

North Carolina’s governor has met with gay-rights advocates bearing a letter signed by more than 100 corporate executives urging him to repeal a new state law seen as excluding gay, lesbian and transgender people from anti-discrimination protections.

Opponents of the law declined to describe Gov. Pat McCrory’s response.

McCrory’s spokesman, Josh Ellis, released a statement saying the governor “appreciated the opportunity to sit down and deal with these complex issues through conversation and dialogue as opposed to political threats and economic retaliation.”

Gay-rights advocates have argued that companies may reconsider doing business in the country’s ninth-largest state as a result of the law.

The North Carolina law prevents local governments from protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity when they use public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants. People also would have to use multi-stall bathrooms that match their birth certificates at state agencies and public schools and universities.

12:20 p.m.

The names of than 100 corporate executives from some of the nation’s biggest employers are on a letter calling for the repeal of North Carolina’s law limiting bathroom options for transgender people and prohibiting local anti-discrimination measures.

Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina announced the growing list on Thursday after delivering the letter to the chief of staff to Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the bill into law last week.

The list includes the CEOs of Starbucks, eBay, Barnes & Noble, American Airlines, Hilton Worldwide, Accenture, and other well-known companies. Technology leaders are heavily represented, including IBM, Apple, Intel, Facebook, Yahoo and AirBnB.

HRC Executive Director Chad Griffin and others said they spoke briefly with the governor after delivering the letter, but declined to discuss his response.