Could One State Election Decide the Future of the Transgender Debate?

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (photo credit: NCDOTcommunications via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (photo credit: NCDOTcommunications via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Earlier this week, APP senior fellow and ThePulse2016.com contributor Maggie Gallagher was interviewed by Radio America’s Greg Corombos on religious freedom and the Republican Party. While religious freedom has become a hot-button issue in many places across the country, Gallagher sees one race as being particularly pivotal in deciding how this debate plays out after 2016: the reelection effort of North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.

With certain powerful elements of the GOP hoping to move the party leftward on social issues, a loss for McCrory — and by extension his strong support for North Carolina’s “bathroom law” — could be used to argue that Republican leaders should acquiesce to the LGBT agenda rather than be branded “anti-LGBT”:

“They’re going to look at this [GOP Gov. Pat] McCrory race, and they’re going to decide whether or not they’re going to shut down on these issues, whether these are just not politically viable issues in America,” said Gallagher, who is now a senior fellow at the American Principles Project Foundation.

“I can tell you that the national Republican Party would like to shut down,” Gallagher said. “This is going to include not only the national Republican Party, but you’re going to see the wave of state efforts to provide conscience protections to gay marriage dissenters grind to a halt.”

With McCrory trailing Democrat Roy Cooper and so much attention being paid to social issues, Gallagher said a McCrory loss will lead national GOP figures to the wrong conclusion.

“If it turns out this is a losing issue for McCrory in North Carolina, which is not Vermont or Massachusetts, this is going to be read by the political class as, ‘Stay away from any issue the left says is anti-gay,’” Gallagher said.

In response, conservatives cannot be content to sit this election out. Gallagher argues the McCrory race offers an opportunity to show Republicans that social issues can be winning issues:

Gallagher said Republicans could make great strides by pointing out that this fight is entirely because Obama and the Democrats are forcing an agenda on the American people. She said North Carolina is really the only entity to fight back, although some states have also taken the administration to court. She said the Obama forces would not even allow parents to know their children are identifying as another gender.

“In Charlotte, the training notes for teachers, for children even in grade school, they are told they should be very careful about letting parents know if children are transitioning to the other gender,” Gallagher said.

She said social conservatives have to get directly involved in the political process and not just fume on the sidelines.

You can listen to the full interview here.

Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.