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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 15, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 16
North Carolina governor 'clarifies' state policy

OKs protections for LGBT state employees
Section One
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North Carolina governor 'clarifies' state policy

OKs protections for LGBT state employees

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory issued an executive order April 12 - only a week after he signed a bill legalizing discrimination against LGBT residents of his state - to 'clarify' the state's policy on LGBT rights.

McCrory's effort to calm a nationwide outcry against the discriminatory legislation, known as HB 2, was immediately rejected by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and by human rights activists.

'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,' McCrory said in a video released by his office.

'Based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state's commitment to privacy and equality.'

In his video statement, McCrory claims his executive order does the following:

'First, it maintains common-sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities in government buildings and in our schools, and when possible, encourages reasonable accommodations for families and those who have unique or special circumstances.

'Second, the private sector can make its own policy with regard to restrooms, locker rooms, and/or shower facilities. This is not a government decision. This is your decision in the private sector.

'Third, I have affirmed the private sector and local government's right to establish its own nondiscrimination employment policies.

'And fourth, as governor, I have expanded our state equal employment opportunity policy to clarify that sexual orientation and gender identity are included.

'And fifth, I will immediately seek legislation in the upcoming short session to reinstate the right to sue for discrimination in North Carolina state courts.'

A day late and a veto short No sooner had McCrory issued his 'clarification' than North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, a candidate for governor in November, issued a sharp rebuttal.

'Gov. McCrory's executive order is a day late and a veto short,' Cooper wrote.

'The sweeping discrimination law he signed has already cost Noth Carolina hundreds of jobs and millions in revenue.

'I'm glad Gov. McCrory has finally acknowledged the great damage his legislation has done, but he needs to do more.'

Cooper then called on the governor to 'work to repeal HB 2.'

A poor effort to save face ACLU of North Carolina acting executive director Sarah Preston also rejected McCrory's executive order.

'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 measure into law that stigmatizes and mandates discrimination against gay and transgender people,' she said in an April 12 statement.

'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.'

The ACLU was joined by HRC, which issued its own statement.

'While the governor's executive order extends protections to state workers, it does nothing to fix the vile and discriminatory provisions he signed into law through HB 2,' the group said.

HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow added that, 'The governor's action is an insufficient response to a terrible, misguided law that continues to harm LGBT people on a daily basis. It's absurd that he'll protect people from being fired but will prohibit them from using the employee restroom consistent with their gender identity. The North Carolina Legislature must act to right this wrong as swiftly as possible. They created this horrendous law, and they need to repeal it.'

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