Not surprisingly, LGBT advocacy groups were singularly unimpressed by the flailing effort of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) to minimize the damage from the state’s new anti-gay law.
“The governor’s action is an insufficient response to a terrible, misguided law that continues to harm LGBT people on a daily basis,” Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement.
McCrory issued an executive order Tuesday in an attempt to quell concerns about the sweeping legislation he signed into law last month that overrode local measures protecting LGBT people from discrimination. While the order seeks legislation restoring the right of private sector employees to sue their employers in state court if they were discriminated against, the order largely stands by the original intent of the law. McCrory extended protections for gay and transgender state government employees, but left the law’s provisions regarding discrimination against LGBT individuals and bathroom use unchanged.
Chris Sgro, the executive director of Equality NC, noted that the “order doubles down on the Governor’s support for some of the most problematic provisions” of the law.
“While Governor McCrory’s Executive Order creates vital protections in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, 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.
Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Charlotte Observer that McCrory’s clarification doesn’t make sense.
“It’s obvious that Gov. McCrory is trying to save his reputation with this desperate move,” Kiesling said. “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.”
Sarah Preston, the acting executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said that McCrory’s executive order did not undo any damage to the LGBT community.
“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 into law the harmful House Bill 2, which stigmatizes and mandates discrimination against gay and transgender people,” Preston said in a statement. “We call on Gov. McCrory and the North Carolina legislature to repeal House Bill 2 and replace it with full non-discrimination protections for all LGBT people.”
The Democratic North Carolina attorney general, Roy Cooper, who is running against McCrory for governor, criticized the governor in a statement, arguing that the executive order was not enough.
“Governor McCrory’s executive order is a day late and a veto short,” Cooper said in a statement. “I’m glad Governor McCrory has finally acknowledged the great damage his legislation has done, but he needs to do much more.”