Gov. McCrory’s Narrow HB2 Executive Order Leaves Correction of Anti-LGBT Law to North Carolina General AssemblyBy Adam Polaski • April 12, 2016 • 3:05 pm
Today, April 12, after weeks of fervent national backlash to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which stripped municipalities in North Carolina of the ability to establish LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections and then codified discrimination against transgender people in state law, Governor Pat McCrory has issued an executive order in response.
Executive Order 93 in some ways moves LGBT equality forward by expanding North Carolina’s non-discrimination policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. These sorts of executive orders are on the books (or will be soon) in Alaska, Montana, and Pennsylvania, among others, and while they send a strong message that LGBT public employees should be treated fairly and equally – they do not carry the weight of the law, their impact is limited to public employees, and they are limited to the tenure of the governor who took action.
Aside from this step forward, Governor McCrory’s Executive Order makes no additional attempt to correct the egregious anti-LGBT policies established by House Bill 2. The majority of the order, in fact, reinforces some of the worst elements of HB2. It maintains a new anti-transgender provision established by HB2 requiring people in government buildings and schools to use the restroom of the gender on their birth certificate, ignoring their gender identity. It also underlines that businesses can establish their own nondiscrimination policies or restroom rules – which has always been the case in North Carolina.
Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:
“Governor McCrory took a step in the right direction today by acknowledging that discrimination of any kind is wrong, and extending nondiscrimination protections to thousands of LGBT North Carolina state employees who previously had no such support. However, the governor chose to double-down on some of the most objectionable portions of the new law – particularly by continuing to ban transgender people from using the bathroom that matches the gender they live as every day. It’s time for North Carolina’s legislative leaders to right this wrong, and immediately repeal HB 2 when they return to session.”
The executive order does not even encourage the North Carolina General Assembly to consider repealing the law during the short session that begins at the end of this month. It merely says that McCrory will encourage legislation restoring the right of employees to sue in state court when they face discrimination based on race, gender, faith, or national origin – but not, of course, based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
Freedom for All Americans agrees with Governor McCrory that discrimination is wrong and has no place in North Carolina. That’s why House Bill 2 must be repealed, immediately when the General Assembly reconvenes on April 25. His actions today to extend nondiscrimination protections to LGBT state employees is a step in the right direction, but that by no means represents a complete solution to the problems House Bill 2 has unleashed.
It is now up to the General Assembly to take decisive action that affirms the dignity and respect of all North Carolinians and stops the economic damage that has buffeted the state’s economy.
The only way to restore North Carolina’s reputation is to repeal House Bill 2 and pass comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that protect all North Carolinians from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
We’ve seen the damage this bill has done so far – it’s cost North Carolina hundreds of new jobs, millions in lost investment and it has done extraordinary harm to the state’s reputation as a good place to work and raise a family. The legislature must repeal House Bill 2 to finally turn the page on this harmful and divisive chapter.