CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper are meeting in a gubernatorial debate, their first public face-off since the governor signed a law limiting LGBT rights in the state.

Cooper and McCrory are participating in a forum Friday in Charlotte. Their campaign is expected to be among the most expensive nationwide and the best chance for a Democrat to flip a gubernatorial seat held by a Republican.

The law known as House Bill 2 has been condemned by gay-rights groups, corporate executives and entertainers.

Cooper wants the law repealed. McCrory has defended the law, citing privacy protections for people. Provisions directing transgender people to use government and public school restrooms designated for their biological sex is being challenged in court.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox