McCrory refuses to answer LGBT employment questions

Requests following Obama executive orders again ignored

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s press officials have declined repeatedly to elaborate on the governor’s views on LGBT employment protections for more than three weeks since his approval of a state equal employment opportunity executive order.

qnotes repeatedly reached out to the governor’s press office and Deputy Communications Director Ryan Tronovitch for answers to two specific questions: Did McCrory make a conscious choice to exclude protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and does McCrory feel LGBT workers are not deserving of the same protections as other employees and should not be judged on merits alone?

The latest requests for comment came this week as President Barack Obama signed two separate executive orders extending LGBT-inclusive employment protections. Federal employees had long been protected on the basis of sexual orientation and rulings from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had extended similar protections on the basis of gender identity. On Monday, Obama ensured protections for transgender workers in his executive order specifically including gender identity in federal employee protections. His second executive order bars anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors and subcontractors — a move bound to protect countless LGBT workers employed by companies doing business with North Carolina’s large military presence.

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On June 30, McCrory signed his own employment executive order protecting state workers on the basis of “race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability and genetic information.”

The measure specifically excluded sexual orientation and gender identity.

Tronovitch and McCrory later attempted claiming the new rules “mirror” federal language — a comment that was as false three weeks ago as it is today.

“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 July 1.

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Though McCrory and his staff have ignored qnotes — the state’s only community news publication for LGBT North Carolinians — they did respond to WRAL, which asked him why he left out LGBT workers.

“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,” McCrory responded. “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.”

North Carolina’s neighbor to the north, Virginia, does protect its LGBT state employees.

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Posted by Matt Comer

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