Gov. Pat McCrory signing an equal employment opportunity executive order on Monday.
Gov. Pat McCrory signing an equal employment opportunity executive order on Monday.
Gov. Pat McCrory signing an equal employment opportunity executive order on Monday.

RALEIGH, N.C. — The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory asking him to amend his recently-signed equal employment executive order to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Without such protections, the national group said it would be “near impossible” for them to ever hold business events in the state.

McCrory’s new order, signed on Monday, extended protections to state government employees and applicants on the basis of “race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability and genetic information.” But, it specifically excluded protections for LGBT workers. McCrory and staffers have since said the new order “mirrors” federal language, despite the fact that federal government workers are already protected from anti-LGBT discrimination.

“It does mirror federal regulation. It does mirror state law. And it does mirror the previous governors who have signed similar orders, including Gov. Perdue, Gov. Easley and Gov. Martin before me,” McCrory told Raleigh news station WRAL on Tuesday, following qnotesreport breaking the story Monday evening. “It’s my job to follow state law, and I will add that, as governor, I will not put up with any kind of discrimination. We deal with employees based upon their work performance and their work performance only. That’s the type of policies I’ve exhibited as governor, and I will continue to exhibit those policies.”

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s letter, dated July 2, calls on McCrory to amend his order.

We are writing to you today on behalf of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to encourage you to include sexual orientation and gender identity among the protected designations included in the Equal Employment Opportunity Executive Order that you signed this week,” reads the letter, signed by Co-Founder and President Justin G. Nelson and Co-Founder and CEO Chance Mitchell. “This bold step will take your state closer to a more vibrant and fully inclusive economy and further position the State of North Carolina for significant economic growth.”

The group says they are the world’s largest LGBT business development and economic advocacy organization. It regularly holds events and conferences and cited their recent national business and leadership conference in Dallas, Texas. The event, the group said, had a a local economic impact of $1.2 million.

“We selected Dallas as our host city not only because of a thriving economy and diverse corporate industry presence, but also because Dallas has a nondiscrimination ordinance to protect its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees and to foster a fully inclusive business culture,” the letter to McCrory reads. “Our stakeholders, both the small business owners and large corporations want to do business in cities and states that value and welcome all people. They recognize that a fully engaged workforce is one where employees can bring their full selves to work every day without fear.”

LGBT-inclusive protections, the chamber told McCrory, ensure a more inclusive economy that benefits all people. The protections are also something companies and organizations consider when thinking about doing business in a city or state.

The group added, “Such protection for LGBT workers encourages organizations like ours to consider North Carolina for future events, something that will be near impossible with the absence of sexual orientation and gender identity in your Executive Order.”

Local LGBT business groups — including the Charlotte Business Guild and Raleigh Business and Professional Network — have said they, too, will be reaching out to McCrory.

You can read the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s letter here (PDF).

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.