From fellow states prohibiting “non-essential” government travel (whatever that means), to multi-national corporations like PayPal and Deutsche Bank halting expansion in the state, to singer Bruce Springsteen canceling his performance there, backlash against North Carolina’s HB2 law — also known as the “transgender bathroom” law — has been forceful. And expanding.
In response, today North Carolina Gov. Pat McRory signed an executive order attempting to clarify the law and provide expanded protections against discrimination in the state.
Via NBC Charlotte WCNC:
Governor McCrory signed an executive order Tuesday that clarifies existing state law and provides new protection for North Carolina residents.
According to the Governor’s Office, Executive Order 93 does the following:
- Maintains the 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.
According to a statement released by McCrory’s office, North Carolina is now one of 24 states that have protections for sexual orientation and gender identity for its employees.
“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.”
Governor McCrory released the following statement in a video with the announcement of the executive order:
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.
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.
So far, it appears the governor’s action today has done little to reverse the backlash. As the Washington Post notes:
Roy Cooper, the North Carolina attorney general and McCrory’s gubernatorial opponent this fall, and multiple LGBT groups criticized McCrory’s order as being a half-measure that left discrimination intact.
“Governor McCrory’s executive order is a day late and a veto short,” Cooper, a Democrat, said in a statement. “The sweeping discrimination law he signed has already cost North Carolina hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue. I’m glad Governor McCrory has finally acknowledged the great damage his legislation has done, but he needs to do much more.”
Not surprisingly, groups such as the ACLU and Human Rights Campaign say the governor’s actions fall short in protecting the rights of gay and transgender people.
Meanwhile, reports of voyeurism in “gender-neutral” bathrooms elsewhere are causing some to reconsider such a policy — highlighting the rights of another group, women, whose rights the demand for gender-neutral bathrooms jeopardize.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]