Gov. Pat McCrory issued an executive order Tuesday in response to the backlash against House Bill 2 (HB2), while leaving most of it in place.
The order expands non-discrimination protections for state employees to include sexual orientation and gender identity, while keeping in place the prohibition against cities and counties from expanding their non-discrimination ordinances to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
It also does not change the provision requiring transgender individuals to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificate and not their gender identity.
In addition, the executive order calls on the General Assembly to once again allow those suing for discrimination to go through state courts, instead of through the federal courts as is now required under HB2. Federal courts are a costlier and lengthier process.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, who has said he will not defend the discriminatory bill in court, issue a statement calling McCrory’s action insufficient:
“Governor McCrory’s executive order is a day late and a veto short. 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. The truth is, this executive order doesn’t change the fact that HB2 has written discrimination into the law.”
The ACLU, who along with Equality NC and Lambda Legal is suing over the bill, released a statement that also called on McCrory to do more.
“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 House Bill 2 into law which 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,” ACLU of North Carolina Acting Executive Director Sarah Preston said.
Preston also stressed that the LGBT community was not interested in leaving anyone behind.
“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,” Preston said. “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.”
Executive Director of Campus Pride Shane Windmeyer echoed these sentiments as well in a statement of his own:
“What Governor McCrory did today changes nothing. House Bill 2 endangers the safety of all North Carolina college students in the UNC system, particularly transgender young people. HB 2 is still in direct conflict with Title IX protections and jeopardizes billions in federal aid coming to the State of North Carolina.”
Campus Pride calls on a full repeal of House Bill 2 immediately. We urge North Carolina college students to do more protests, marches and rallies directed at the Governor and the General Assembly. The political pressure is obviously working. Just last week the Governor was doubling-down on his discrimination and now he is seeking to justify his hate bill under the guise of ‘common sense.’ The only common sense thing to do is to repeal HB2 now.”
McCrory released a video attempting to explain his executive order.
“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. Based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality,” he said in the video, which you can watch below.