North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has signed an executive order in an attempt to “clarify” the state’s discriminatory anti-LGBT bill, HB 2, which was hurriedly approved only weeks ago.
On Tuesday, McCrory announced that Executive Order 93 is intended to “protect privacy and equality” in the Tar Heel State. The order claims to make some improvements in the area of nondiscrimination protections yet makes no amendments to HB 2’s provisions regarding the policing of gender as in public restrooms.
The executive order is McCrory’s latest desperate and weak attempt to counteract the backlash he and state legislators have received over HB 2.
Nearly three weeks after signing the controversial transgender bathroom bill into law, Governor Pat McCrory has signed an executive order that clarifies its impact.
McCrory says the order also provides new protections for state residents.
The order comes after a nationwide backlash against the state, with at least two major companies saying they were pulling expansion projects in the state.
“After listening to people’s feedback for the past several weeks on this issue, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, a lot of passion and frankly, selective outrage and hypocrisy, especially against the great state of North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory. “Based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality.”
According to the governor’s office, the executive order does the following:
- Maintains common sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities in government buildings and schools
- Affirms the private sector’s right to establish its own restroom and locker room policies
- Affirms the private sector and local governments’ right to establish its own non-discrimination employment policies for its own employees
- Expands the state’s employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity
- Seeks legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination
The governor’s office says North Carolina is now one of 24 states that have protections for sexual orientation and gender identity for its employees.
ACLU of North Carolina Acting Executive Director Sarah Preston responded to the executive order in a statement, saying:
“Gov. McCrory’s actions today are a poor effort to save face after his sweeping attacks on the LGBT community, and they fall far short of correcting the damage done when he signed the harmful measure into law that stigmatizes and mandates discrimination against gay and transgender people. With this executive order, LGBT individuals still lack legal protections from discrimination, and transgender people are still explicitly targeted by being forced to use the wrong restroom.
“An impressive and growing number of businesses, faith leaders, and public figures have come out to condemn House Bill 2 as an unnecessary and dangerous measure that unfairly targets gay and transgender people. Regardless of political affiliation, more and more political leaders also understand that discrimination is bad for business and politically toxic. The public believes in equality and fairness and House Bill 2 and measures like it are out of step with the values of most Americans.
“Efforts to divide the LGBT community by extending limited protections but leaving in place the rules mandating discrimination against the transgender community will only strengthen our resolve to fight back against this discriminatory and misguided legislative action. We call on Gov. McCrory and the North Carolina legislature to repeal House Bill 2 and replace it with full non-discrimination protections for all LGBT people.”
You can read Executive Order 93 HERE.
Pat McCrory also released a video discussing Executive Order 93, in which he lambasted LGBT rights advocates for their “selective outrage and hypocrisy.”
Watch it, below.
Below is a transcript of Pat McCrory’s comments in the above video:
Hi, I’m North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.
North Carolina proudly welcomes all people to live, work and visit our great state.
We didn’t become the ninth most populous state in the nation by accident. We have long held traditions of both ensuring equality for all of our citizens and our visitors, while also respecting the privacy of everyone.
We are also a state that strives to allow our people and businesses to be as independent as possible without overreaching government regulations.
These North Carolina values of privacy and equality came into conflict recently when the Charlotte City Council passed a new mandate that forced on businesses a city-wide ordinance of bathroom and locker room regulations, something frankly we had never seen or had before in that great city or in North Carolina.
Simply put, this government overreach was a solution in search of a problem.
In fact, the Charlotte City Council rejected this proposal less than a year ago.
In a letter prior to the most recent vote, I notified the Charlotte City Council that this unnecessary and intrusive mandate conflicts with basic expectations of privacy in the most private of settings.
Therefore, as I expected, the state took action on what was seen as government overreach.
You know, after listening to people’s feedback for the past several weeks on this issue, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, a lot of passion and frankly, selective outrage and hypocrisy, especially against the great state of North Carolina.
But based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality.
To that end, today I have signed an executive order with the goal of achieving that fine balance.
This executive order accomplishes the following:
First, it maintains common sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities in government buildings and in our schools, and when possible, encourages reasonable accommodations for families and those who have unique or special circumstances.
Second, the private sector can make its own policy with regard to restrooms, locker rooms and/or shower facilities. This is not a government decision. This is your decision in the private sector.
Third, I have affirmed the private sector and local government’s right to establish its own non-discrimination employment policies.
And fourth, as governor, I have expanded our state equal employment opportunity policy to clarify that sexual orientation and gender identity are included.
And fifth, I will immediately seek legislation in the upcoming short session to reinstate the right to sue for discrimination in North Carolina state courts.
Simply put, I have listened to the people of North Carolina, and the people of North Carolina are entitled to both privacy and equality. We can and we must achieve both of these goals.
Now I know these actions will not totally satisfy everyone, but the vast majority of our citizens want common sense solutions to complex issues.
This is the North Carolina way.
Thank you very much, and may God continue to bless the great state of North Carolina.
UPDATE: North Carolina AG Roy Cooper has released a full statement on the bill.
— Roy Cooper (@RoyCooperNC) April 12, 2016
While the governor’s executive order extends protections to state workers, it does nothing to fix the vile and discriminatory provisions he signed into law through HB 2. Under HB 2, transgender people are prohibited from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity in public buildings, including the University of North Carolina campus and the Raleigh-Durham Airport. Cities still cannot adopt ordinances designed to prohibit discrimination against their residents and visitors. And, today’s action does not undo the damage to the state nondiscrimination laws, which now prevent individuals from bringing suit in state courts.
HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said, “The governor’s action is an insufficient response to a terrible, misguided law that continues to harm LGBT people on a daily basis. It’s absurd that he’ll protect people from being fired but will prohibit them from using the employee restroom consistent with their gender identity. The North Carolina Legislature must act to right this wrong as swiftly as possible. They created this horrendous law, and they need to repeal it.”
Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro said, “While Governor McCrory’s Executive Order creates vital protections in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, it does not address the deep concerns we share with members of the business community and citizens across the state about the damaging impact of HB 2. In fact, the order doubles down on the Governor’s support for some of the most problematic provisions of HB 2.”
Both HRC and Equality North Carolina continue to call on the governor and North Carolina’s elected officials to repeal HB 2.
UPDATE 2: The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has also lambasted McCrory for EO 93. NGLCC President and Co-Founder Justin Nelson said in a statement,