This afternoon, Gov. Pat McCrory responded to backlash against the controversial House Bill 2 by signing Executive Order 93, which clarifies certain parts of the law and adds sexual orientation and gender identity to state laws protecting people from job discrimination.
A release from McCrory's office states that it accomplishes the following (language directly from McCrory's office):
-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
While adding workplace protections for the LGBT community has long been a goal of advocates, the executive order is sure not to quell the large backlash McCrory and state lawmakers have faced from people opposed to the new law. The first three points read like they were taken straight from McCrory's press release defending the law shortly after it was passed and they don't really change anything.
Today's action leaves in place many of the more controversial points of HB2, including the so-called "common sense" rules for bathrooms, which bar transgender people from entering restrooms of the gender they identify with.
The last point, which at first glance may seem to fix one of the more perplexing points of HB2, does not actually restore the right of those who have been discriminated against — whether based on sexual orientation, disability, race or any other aspect — to sue in state court, but instead gives residents all assurances that McCrory will do his best to have the state legislature revisit this issue when they return to their desks on April 25.
In a Facebook post following the signing of EO93, Lara Americo, a transgender woman and CL contributor, expressed similar feelings to many of those in the LGBT community on Tuesday afternoon.
"A small step in the right direction after a huge leap into the past," she wrote.
In a statement from Sarah Preston, acting executive director of ACLU of North Carolina, she called EO93 a "poor effort to save face" by McCrory.
“Efforts to divide the LGBT community by extending limited protections but leaving in place the rules mandating discrimination against the transgender community will only strengthen our resolve to fight back against this discriminatory and misguided legislative action," Preston wrote. "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."
McCrory's video announcing the executive order is below: