North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed an executive order Tuesday responding to the backlash over the state's extremely controversial House Bill 2, the so-called bathroom law. The executive order extends protections for state employees on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation but does not overturn gender-specific public bathroom policies. The new law's overriding of local non-discrimination ordinances remains.
“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 statement, local TV station WGH reported. "But based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state's commitment to privacy and equality."
Opponents of the bill argue it discriminates against the state's LGBT community and denies equal rights to all citizens. Executive Order 93 extends protections for state employees, but still allows private companies to establish their own "restroom and locker room policies" and "maintains common sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities in government buildings and schools."
The Republican governor's office said the order would expand the "state’s employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity." In a video message, McCrory also said he would seek legislation to reinstate the right to sue in North Carolina courts over discrimination for terminated employees, which was revoked by HB2.
The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act was signed into law by McCrory March 23. The backlash to the law was immediate with businesses and celebrities saying they would pull out of North Carolina. In the latest fallout, Deutsche Bank announced Tuesday it would not be adding 250 jobs in Cary.
“We take our commitment to building inclusive work environments seriously,” said John Cryan, co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank in a press release. “We’re proud of our operations and employees in Cary and regret that as a result of this legislation we are unwilling to include North Carolina in our U.S. expansion plans for now.”
PayPal also decided to stop its expansion, and Google, Apple, Lionsgate and American Airlines have all been critical of the legislation. Musician Bruce Springsteen canceled his tour date in North Carolina because of the legislation.
McCrory's office said North Carolina is now among 24 states that has protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation for state employees.