This post has been updated.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Tuesday issued an executive order clarifying portions of a sweeping anti-gay law. The order also extended rights to certain state employees and sought legislative changes to the provision that impacts 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,” he said in a statement accompanying the order. “Based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality.”
McCrory’s executive order leaves the law unchanged, but he has expanded rights for state employees and asked for a change to a provision in the law unrelated to LGBT rights.
Under the executive order, McCrory expanded “the state’s employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.”
He also requested “legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination.” A provision in the new law has eliminated the ability for private sector employees to sue 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 affirms other aspects of the sweeping legislation that was rushed through the legislature in late March. According to the description of the order published by McCrory’s office, the order “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 executive order also clarifies businesses and local governments have the “right to establish non-discrimination employment policies for its own employees.”
Since McCrory signed the legislation into law in March, he has focused on the law’s provision addressing bathroom use. The law directs schools, government agencies and colleges to direct individuals to use the bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate, which keeps transgender individuals from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
State lawmakers pushed the legislation barring local governments from passing anti-discrimination measures to protect LGBT people in response to a Charlotte ordinance. That city measure said that businesses cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity and allowed transgender individuals to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
McCrory addressed this in his statement on the 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.”
Read the governor’s description of the executive order:
Maintains common sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities in government buildings and schools
Affirms the private sector’s right to establish its own restroom and locker room policies
Affirms the private sector and local governments’ right to establish non-discrimination employment policies for its own employees
Expands the state’s employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity
Seeks legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination