North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory issued an executive order on Tuesday to clarify parts of the state’s draconian new anti-LGBT law. The order gives protections to state employees and seeks changes to the portions regarding employment 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 a statement which accompanied the order. “Based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality.
McCrory’s order does nothing to actually change the law, but it does give more rights to state employees and sought to alter a provision that is unrelated to LGBT rights. His executive order expands “the state’s employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.”
McCrory also asked for “legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination.” This request addresses a provision in the new law which prohibits private sector employees from suing over workplace discrimination under state law on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap.
The rest of McCrory’s order reaffirms other portions of the state’s sweeping anti-gay legislation, which became law in March. Regarding the “Bathroom Bill,” a summary of the order provided by McCrory’s office said it “maintains common sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities in government buildings and schools” and “affirms the private sector’s right to establish its own restroom and locker room policies.”
The “Bathroom Bill” portion of the new law mandates that people must use the restroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, regardless of their gender identity. Lawmakers rushed the legislation through in response to an ordinance in Charlotte that prohibited businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity and allowed people who are transgender to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.
McCrory addressed this in the statement which accompanied his executive order:
These North Carolina values of privacy and equality came into conflict recently when the Charlotte City Council passed a new mandate that forced on businesses a city-wide ordinance of bathroom and locker room regulations, something frankly we had never seen or had before in that great city or in North Carolina,” he said. “Simply put, this government overreach was a solution in search of a problem.
The order also clarifies that businesses and local governments have the “right to establish non-discrimination employment policies for its own employees.”
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