North Carolina’s governor ‘waters down’ anti-LGBT law… but don’t expect a miracle
The Governor of North Carolina has issued an order attempting to water down the state’s anti-LGBT laws – but most of its provisions remain in place.
The state has lost a string of big investment ventures over the past weeks over the law – which voided all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, and permits businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.
The law also bans transgender students in public schools from using their preferred bathroom.
Following a high-profile business boycott that has cost the state thousands of jobs, Governor McCrory has attempted to appease some concerns with a new executive order.
He said: “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. 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.”
His new order expands the state’s employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity, affirms the private sector and local governments’ right to establish non-discrimination employment policies for its own employees, and seeks legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination.
It is unclear whether the changes will actually resolve the issue – they may be largely futile while ‘religious freedom’ exemptions from anti-discrimination laws are still intact.
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McCrory has also stood by the anti-trans bathroom parts of the bill – insisting that he will maintain “common sense” provisions that force transgender women to use the men’s room, also affirming “the private sector’s right to establish its own restroom and locker room policies”.
Sarah Warbelow of the Human Rights Campaign 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.”