Take one look at the mailers Rep. Chris Malone (R-Wake Forest) is sending out to his constituents, and you'd find a candidate who is steadfastly against HB 2—and not only that, but someone who calls for adding full LGBTQ non-discrimination protections to existing state law.
The only problem is that Malone voted for it, and conveniently forgot to leave that fact out on his mailer.
In a copy of a mailer obtained by the INDY
, Malone writes: "HB 2 is costing Wake County and North Carolina too much. I call for a full repeal of HB 2 now. I also support adding anti-discrimination language to state laws. I call upon law enforcement to enforce existing laws banning inappropriate behavior in public facilities. Let's repeal HB 2 and move on to issues that matter to our community and state."
Malone apparently didn't think that back in March 23, because he voted for the bill
, along with all of his fellow Republicans and several House Democrats.
Even aside from HB 2, Malone has had an absolutely abysmal record on LGBTQ rights during his time in the House. He didn't vote on the bill to allow magistrates to recuse themselves from performing same-sex marriage ceremonies, but when even Pat McCrory couldn't stomach that and vetoed it, Malone voted to override McCrory's veto
Considering Malone is in a tough race right now
with Wake Forest lawyer Terence Everitt, it's understandable that he might want to dial back his support of HB 2 or call for its repeal altogether.
But Malone has done this in the most cowardly way possible—unlike Sens. Tamara Barringer and John Alexander and Rep. Gary Pendleton, three Wake County Republicans also facing grim re-election prospects, Malone has not made his newfound opposition to HB 2 public, even being cited in the N&O's endorsement of his opponent three days ago as "agreeing in principle
" with HB 2.
And not only that, but Malone is now fashioning himself as a champion for gay rights, which he has proven in his four years in the legislature to be anything but. And not only that
, but the mailer was paid for by the state Republican Party, the biggest vehicle for anti-LGBTQ policies throughout the state over the past six years.
We sent Malone some questions asking, essentially, how he can sleep at night. We'll update with his response.
"It seems the only person who could finally convince Chris Malone that HB 2 was causing real damage was his pollster—and only because that damage his threatening to end his political career," Everitt campaign manager Ryan Ash said in a statement. "He should have listened to what his constituents and our business leaders have been trying to tell him from the very beginning and opposed HB 2 — now it's too late."
"This is a pretty clear attempt on the Representative's part to shake off responsibility for a horribly discriminatory piece of legislation that he voted for," Wake County Democratic Party chair Brian Fitzsimmons told the INDY. "We'll continue to believe that the voters in House District 35 are smarter than Rep. Malone and the NC GOP think they are."
"No, absolutely not," Rep. Darren Jackson, a Wake Democrat who has helped to lead the charge in the House to repeal HB 2 from the beginning, told the INDY
when asked if Malone had ever indicated his support for a repeal. "He didn't sign my discharge petition to try to get the bill heard, I called for a special session to save the ACC title game and he didn't do that, I haven't heard him say anything about HB 2 to anyone anywhere other than his full support."
"And [the mailer] is paid for by the Republican Party," Jackson added. "It's just hilarious."