McCrory, Cooper spar over HB2; noisy protests continue

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- In a busy day of back and forth over House Bill 2, Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper exchanged barbs, and the so-called Air Horn Orchestra was back for an eight straight week of "performance" -- this time, taking their loud anti-HB2 campaign down the block.

The protest began as usual in front of the Executive Mansion then turned into a blaringly loud march down Blount to oppose the controversial law.

The anti-HB2 demonstrators -- noticed the private reception for North Carolina craft brewers outside the Lieutenant Governor's offices and decided to crash the party -- at least from across the street.

"Full repeal of HB2!" protesters shouted from the other side of Blount Street.

WATCH: ABC11's Steve Daniels explains HB2
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Steve Daniels gives an overview of House Bill 2

HB2 was designed to block a Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance, part of which allowed transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with. The state law requires people to use the restroom according to their biological sex listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools, and universities.

The law also excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from anti-discrimination protections and blocks municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination and living wage rules.

Earlier, McCrory was faced with questions about HB2's impact from small business owners at the National Federal of Independent Businesses luncheon at downtown Raleigh's City Club.

"I think we're doing the right thing," McCrory said.


He defended his decision to sue the federal government in efforts to win a court ruling over whether the bill he signed into law discriminates against transgender citizens. McCrory then criticized Cooper, his opponent in the governor's race.

"My objection to the attorney general, with all due respect, is he's not helping us get that clarification. And he needs to do his job," McCrory said.

Cooper countered with a new YouTube ad blasting the governor. Later tweeting, "It's time Pat McCrory stop dodging responsibility for the damage HB2 has caused North Carolina.


Back on Blount Street, lawmakers mingled on the lawn of the Lieutenant Governor's Offices, some stopping to take pictures of the spectacle, as protest organizers were faced with the question of whether their efforts were making a difference.

"I think Pat (McCrory) is starting to get a little worried," said organizer Grayson Haver Currin. "I think he's been worried. So we'll see how it plays out in the months to come."

Despite the light rain shower as the "orchestra" was getting underway, there was still a good-sized crowd of protesters. And after eight consecutive weeks of noisy demonstrations, they're pledging to continue for as long as HB2 stands.

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