North Carolina’s ‘Fairness’ Executive Order Is a Bust

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, feeling the heat over the anti-LGBT law known as HB2, has issued an executive order to addresses concerns over “fairness.” Unfortunately, it’s entirely lip-service.

Known as Executive Order 93 and billed as a means to protect “fairness and privacy,” the document says the Governor affirms that the State of North Carolina is committed to “administering and implementing” all state policies fairly and “without unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, genetic information, or disability.”

The executive order also states that “private businesses, nonprofit employers and local governments may establish their own non-discrimination employment policies.”

But there is more to this executive order. North Carolina doesn’t protect LGBT rights, so anti-LGBT discrimination is technically legal under state law.

And the worst part of HB2 has always been its attack on transgender people. This executive order does not change that — and even lauds that portion of the bill:

“Under current law, every multiple occupancy restroom, locker room or shower facility located in a cabinet agency must be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex. Agencies may make reasonable accommodations upon a person’s request due to special circumstances.”

The executive order goes on to restate what HB2 appeared to mandate. North Carolina State University and other educational establishments should provide only single occupancy facilities for trans people.

As we’ve detailed before, this policy goes against federal law under the Civil Rights Act. Furthermore, the order confirms what HB2 said: that LGBT people can be discriminated against in housing based on their identities.

The rest of the order restates a desire to protect against “unlawful job discrimination.”

Here’s the thing — firing people based on their LGBT identity isn’t illegal in North Carolina.

While Governor McCrory’s executive order could be interpreted as giving some small protection to LGBT state government contractors, it does nothing to change HB2′s impact on trans people.

HB2 makes trans people into offenders for using the public accommodations that align with their gender and broadly allows for discrimination in housing and education.

Regardless, in a video statement issued with this executive order, Governor McCrory seems to willfully ignore the criticism HB2 has received, saying:

“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. Based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality.” 

It’s also very important to point out that McCrory blatantly misrepresents the truth. In this statement (transcript available here) he says:

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.
 
Simply put, this government overreach was a solution in search of a problem.

But this is not factually accurate. Because North Carolina does not protect LGBT people, the Charlotte ordinance was an answer to the very real problem of anti-trans and wider anti-LGBT discrimination, for which there is a significant body of evidence.

The “government overreach … in search of a problem” came when Governor McCrory and the legislature began crowing that this simple ordinance put women and children in danger because it allowed “men into women’s bathrooms.” That transphobic claim has been disproven countless times by law enforcement professionals.

You can see the rest of the announcement in the video below:

From the National Center for Transgender Equality to Equality NC, civil rights groups have said that while Executive Order 93 does give some vital protections, they are incredibly limited and fail to address the pervasive transphobic aspects of the bill.

Governor McCrory’s executive order serves largely just a PR move, as North Carolina continues to operate as an LGBT-hostile state.

Photo Credit: Mayor McGinn

69 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Timothy W.
Timothy W1 years ago

Pam.
I think for once I have to quit just thinking about what needs to happen and actually try to make it happen. I have begun to look at options. I will keep you posted. If you have advice or ideas let me know. I am going to become quite passionate about this. I just dealt with a regular, client today that was ranting about her Kristian right to discriminate. And yes she was at least honest enough to call it discriminate. I think it is time for me to go back to my activist roots and raise hell.

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pam w.
pam w1 years ago

Timothy....GREAT idea! Now--how to begin?

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ERIKA SOMLAI
ERIKA S1 years ago

noted

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Beth Wilkerson
Beth Wilkerson1 years ago

this needs to stop

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Timothy W.
Timothy W1 years ago

Pam
I was just talking about that with my partner earlier today. I think that groups such as the ACLU and LGBT rights groups should form a hotline that people can report to when they are refused service because of who they are. Then it can be compiled into a listing so if some one wants to go out to eat, shop or look for some other service they can call and check to see if they are listed as a discriminatory practice or business. I hope this sort of service becomes a reality. I will be listed as the one turning crosses and fish away.

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pam w.
pam w1 years ago

Timothy, I've long hoped that some powerful and knowledgeable group will widely publish lists of businesses/states who impose their narrow views on customers/visitors. Then, the sensible folks can BOYCOTT them. I'll never enter Hobby Lobby or Chic-fil-a, for example and would love to know others places to ignore. How can we accomplish this?

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Timothy W.
Timothy W1 years ago

People need to understand that even though we seem to hear about a few states that are passing this type legislation, such as North Carolina and Mississippi, there are others as well. Missouri is one of the first states in our country to pass laws early on against Same Gender marriage, and now today they are voting on a bill similar to North Carolina's and Mississippi's. These laws are not really designed or written to provide religious rights but to directly discriminate against a group of people. Will I be allowed to refuse to do business or work for christians who I strongly believe are harming our society. These are strongly held beliefs I have, and think that if I see a cross or fish displayed I shouldn't have to deal or associate with them.

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suzie c.
suzie c1 years ago

noted

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Fi T.
Past Member 1 years ago

Real fairness?

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