Executive order from NC Gov. “doubles down” on transgender discrimination
North Carolina has been getting hit from businesses and performing artists left and right after the passage of HB 2. The law removed protections for LGBTQ employees in a number of cities, but also forces transgender people to use the restroom aligned with the gender on their birth certificate, not their gender identity.
A step taken yesterday by NC Gov. Pat McCrory aimed to alleviate some of the concerns associated with the bill. McCrory signed EO 93, which will allow localities to create their own protections for employees, offers protections for LGBTQ state employees and asks the legislature to create a new law which would “reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination.”
“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 in a statement released on his website. “Based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality.”
But activists were quick to point out the EO does not change the state’s bathroom law, and instead called the move a desperate stunt to save his reputation.
“His executive order says that transgender state employees are protected from discrimination, but they still can’t use the restroom at work. It doesn’t make sense. In fact, the order does nothing to change the government-mandated discrimination against all trans people in public buildings across the state. And it doesn’t change the fact that most LGBT people in the state still have zero protections against discrimination,” said Jay H. Wu, Media Relations Manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality. ”If Gov. McCrory thinks anyone is going to fall for this, he has completely underestimated North Carolinians – and the rest of the nation.”
Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Kyle Palazzolo called the EO a “band-aid” on HB 2 and said it does little to protect NC’s LGBTQ population.
“HB 2 is an attack on fairness in employment, education, and local governance that encourages discrimination against thousands of LGBT people who call North Carolina home, and it particularly targets transgender people,” Palazzolo said in a statement.
Palazzolo, Lambda Legal, the ACLU of North Carolina, and Equality North Carolina have all joined in a lawsuit against the state and Gov. McCrory over the passage of HB2. They said they will continue the suit despite the EO, calling the it an unacceptable partial measure.
“While this is an improvement for the state employees it impacts, HB 2’s reach goes far beyond what the executive order addresses and that’s why we are challenging this extreme and discriminatory measure—in order to ensure that everyone who lives in and visits North Carolina is protected under the law,” Palazzolo said.
Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro echoed Palazzolo’s statements saying the improvements offered by HB2 do little for NC’s more vulnerable populations, and instead offers McCrory the chance to reinforce his discriminatory policy against transgender North Carolinians.
“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,” Sgro said in a statement. “In fact, the order doubles down on the Governor’s support for some of the most problematic provisions of HB 2.”
The North Carolina governor cited costs of litigation, noting that his state is also the defendant in a lawsuit filed against him by the Dept. of Justice on similar grounds.September 19, 2016
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