CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Governor Pat McCrory warned members of the Charlotte City Council against taking up and passing an ordinance that would allow individuals who identify as transgender to use bathrooms of their opposite biological sex.
The bathroom provision was part of a larger ordinance passed by the council in February.
Emails obtained by On Your Side Investigates show two members of the council reached out to McCrory the night before the vote to get his input on how passage of the ordinance would impact "relations between Raleigh and Charlotte."
The email was sent by Ed Driggs but McCrory's response was addressed to both Driggs and Councilman Kenny Smith.
"Thank you for your inquiry. Although I have made a point as the former 14 year Mayor and current Governor to stay out of specific issues being voted on by the Charlotte City Council, the item of changing basic long-established values and norms of access to public restrooms is misguided and has major statewide ramifications," McCrory wrote.
In his email, McCrory said he was concerned that individuals would use the ordinance to take 'deviant' actions and called the ordinance bad policy.
"Also, this action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate State legislative intervention which I would support as governor," McCrory wrote. "This action also puts an unneeded strain on the relationship between the City of Charlotte and the State of North Carolina."
McCrory ended his email to Driggs and Smith by encouraging the pair to steer the council to focus on other issues.
"I encourage you to convince your colleagues to focus on issues most important to our citizens and this proposed change is not one of them. In fact, the City of Charlotte is causing more problems by trying to solve a problem that does not exist," McCrory wrote.
Driggs forwarded McCrory's response to Mayor Jennifer Roberts and other members of the council. Roberts responded by admonishing Driggs for reaching out to McCrory without consulting staff or other council members.
"Do you plan to gauge the Governor's interest directly on other matters that we vote on?" Roberts wrote. "I am just trying to understand your reasoning for asking about this particular vote and not others we have taken--or that we will take-- that are equally important and might also affect our relations with Raleigh."
Driggs responded by saying he had refrained from discussing the proposed ordinance with state lawmakers but thought someone on the council should gauge how passage of the ordinance would be received in the state's capitol.
"There was good reason to believe we might get a reaction from Raleigh, and I thought somebody should at least ask," Driggs wrote, noting he had known McCrory personally for years.